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July 29, 2008 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2008-29

Barred Spiral Galaxies Are Latecomers to the Universe

July 29, 2008: In a landmark study of more than 2,000 spiral galaxies from the largest galaxy census conducted by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers found that so-called barred spiral galaxies were far less plentiful 7 billion years ago than they are today, in the local universe. The study's results confirm the idea that bars are a sign of galaxies reaching full maturity as the "formative years" end. The observations are part of the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS).

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Sheth (California Institute of Technology)