Astronomers have found a Milky Way galaxy in deep space, 12 billion light-years away, according to a new study.
The research, published in Nature, details the discovery of the galaxy SPT0418-47, which not only surprised researchers, but looks similar to other nearby galaxies, throwing grief into what experts previously knew about galaxy formation.
“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 study lead author Francesca Rizzo. , a doctoral student from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, in a statement.
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SPT0418-47 was spotted by the Chilean Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA) of Chile using a technique known as “gravitational lensing”, which helps researchers find objects in the distant universe. At 12 billion light-years away, SPT0418-47 is less than 2 billion years younger than the universe itself.
A year of light, which measures distance in space, is approximately 6 trillion miles.
The astronomers found SPT0418-47 have no spiral wings and are extremely “arranged”, added study co-author Simona Vegetti. It has a rotating disk and bounce, the first time this type of galaxy has been seen so deep in the universe.
“What we found was quite annoying; despite forming stars at a high rate, and therefore is the site of highly energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the most regulated disk of the galaxy ever seen in the early Universe,” he added. Vegetti. “This result is quite unexpected and has important implications for the way we think galaxies are evolving.”
To reconstruct the true shape of the galaxy, the researchers used computer models and took images made by “gravitational lensing” and reconstructed them, much to Rizzo’s surprise.
“When I first saw the reconstructed image of SPT0418-47 I could not believe it,” Rizzo explained. “A treasure chest was opening.”
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Although SPT0418-47 has some features similar to other spiral galaxies, it is expected to evolve into an elliptical galaxy, the researchers added.
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