Billions of light years from Earth, a galaxy for children which is surprisingly similar to ours, is drowsiness, surprisingly calm and unbearable, scientists said in the study published Wednesday. Scientists said the discovery has changed their understanding of how galaxies form.
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) spotted the new galaxy using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter (ALMA) Array, one of the most powerful telescopes in the world.
Even the most powerful telescopes struggle to capture detailed observations of such distant galaxies. But using an effect called gravitational lensing, the team used the gravitational pull of a nearby galaxy to act as a magnifying glass, allowing ALMA to look “into the distant past in 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 said SPT0418-47 is “surprisingly unchaotic” – contradicting the prevailing theories that all new galaxies are “turbulent and unstable” compared to more mature galaxies like the Milky Way.
“What we found was quite annoying; despite the formation of stars at a high rate, and therefore was the site of very energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the most regulated disk of the galaxy ever seen in the early Universe,” co-author Simona Vegetti, from the MPI, said in a press release Wednesday. “This result is quite unexpected and has important implications for the way we think galaxies are evolving.”
Click to expand
SPT0418-47 does not appear to have spiral arms like the Milky Way. But both our SPT0418-47 and our galaxy have rotating disks and bounce – large clusters of stars tightly packed 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 were already in place 12 billion years ago,” said co-author Francesca Rizzo, a student at doctorate from MPI.
Researchers reconstructed the current shape of the galaxy and the motion of its gas from ALMA data using a new computer modeling technique. “When I first saw the reconstructed image of the SPT0418-47, I could not believe it: a treasure chest is being opened,” Rizzo said.
This is the first time that scientists have noticed such an early bounce in the history of the universe, the release says – making SPT0418-47 farther “The Milky Way looks the same”.
“The big surprise was to discover that this galaxy is actually quite similar to nearby galaxies, contrary to all the expectations from previous, less detailed models and observations,” said co-author Filippo Fraternali, of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute. , University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Studying a baby galaxy that allows astronomers to see the universe when it was only 10% of its current era is essential to understanding how galaxies form and evolve. It is unclear how a well-arranged galaxy could have formed so quickly after the Big Bang, and shows that the early universe may have been less chaotic than previously thought.
While they bear some similarities, astronomers expect SPT0418-47 to evolve into a distinct galaxy from the Milky Way. They predict it will eventually join the class of elliptical galaxies.
In the future, astronomers hope to discern how common these disk galaxies are, and how chaotic, in order to further understand the evolution of our galaxy.