Billions of light years from Earth, one Baby galaxy In the study published Wednesday, it is surprisingly similar to us to hide, be surprisingly calm and humble, scientists say. The discovery has changed their understanding of how galaxies form, the scientists say.
The galaxy, called SPT0418-47, is located 12 billion light-years from Earth, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPI) have discovered the young galaxy using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA), one of the world’s most powerful telescopes.
Even the most powerful telescopes struggle to record detailed observations of such distant galaxies. But using an effect called a gravitational lens, the team used the help of the gravity of a nearby galaxy to act as a magnifying glass, allowing ALMA to see “the past. far away with unprecedented detail “.
The galaxy appears as an almost perfect ring of light – the so-called “Einstein Ring.”
Because the galaxy is so far away, astronomers are seeing it as it was when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. They say SPT0418-47 is “not surprisingly bizarre” – contradicting popular theories that all young galaxies are “chaotic and unstable” compared to adult galaxies. more like the Milky Way.
“What we found was rather confusing; despite forming stars at high speeds and thus where high-energy processes take place, SPT0418-47 is the best-ordered galactic disk ever. observations in the Early Universe, “co-author Simona Vegetti, from MPI, said in a press release Wednesday. “This result is quite surprising and has important implications for the way we think galaxies evolve.”
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SPT0418-47 does not appear to have spiral arms like the Milky Way. But both SPT0418-47 and our galaxy have spinning discs and bulges – large groups of stars tightly concentrated around their centers.
“This result represents a breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation, showing that the structures we observe in nearby spiral galaxies and in our Milky Way are between 12 billion. years ago, ”co-author Francesca Rizzo, a graduate student from MPI.
The researchers reconstructed the actual shape of the galaxy and the motion of the gas from ALMA data using a new computer modeling technique. “The first time I saw reconstructions of the SPT0418-47, I couldn’t believe it: a treasure chest was opening,” Rizzo said.
This is the first time that scientists have detected such an early bulge in cosmic history, the release says – making SPT0418-47 the “Milky Way” in the distance.
Co-author Filippo Fraternali, from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, said: “It was a great surprise that the discovery that this galaxy was actually quite similar to neighboring galaxies, contrary to all expectations from previous models and observations, less detailed. in the Netherlands.
Studying a child galaxy that allows astronomers to observe the universe when it is only 10% of its current age is key to understanding how galaxies form and develop. It’s unclear how a well-ordered galaxy could have formed so soon after the Big Bang, and suggests that the early universe might be less chaotic than is believed.
Although they have some similarities, astronomers expect SPT0418-47 to develop into a galaxy different from the Milky Way. They predict that it will eventually join the elliptical galaxy layer.
In the future, astronomers hope to differentiate between the prevalence of these sub-disc galaxies and their chaos, so that we can understand more about the evolution of our galaxy.