According to a study published in the journal Nature, the galaxy called SPT0418-47 is located 12 billion light years from Earth. Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPI) observed 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 capture detailed observations of such distant galaxies. But using an effect called gravitational lensing, the team helped the gravitational bridge of a nearby galaxy to act as a magnifying glass, allowing ALMA to see “in unprecedented detail the distant past”.
The Milky Way appears as an unmistakable ring of light – called the “Einstein Ring”.
Because the galaxy is so far away, astronomers are looking at it as it was when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. He stated that SPT0418-47 is “surprisingly unsolicited” – contradicting popular theories that all young galaxies are “turbulent and unstable” compared to more mature galaxies like the Milky Way.
Co-author Simona Vegetablei said, “What we found was quite surprising. Despite making stars at a high rate, and therefore replacing high-energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the most well-ordered galaxy disk.” , From the MPI, said in a press release on Wednesday. “This result is quite unexpected and has important implications for how we think galaxies evolve.”
SPT0418-47 does not appear to have spiral arms like the Milky Way. But both SPT0418-47 and our galaxy have rotating disks and bulges – large clusters of tightly filled stars around their centers.
“This result represents a breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation, showing that the structures we see in nearby spiral galaxies and in our Milky Way were already 12 billion years ago,” co-author Francesca Said Rizzo, a PhD student. MPI.
Researchers reconstruct the galaxy’s true shape and its gas speed from ALMA data using a new computer modeling technique. “When I first saw the reconstructed image of SPT0418-47 I couldn’t believe it: a treasure chest was opening,” Rizzo said.
This is the first time scientists have seen an emergence so early in the history of the universe, the release said – making SPT0418-47 more distant “resembling the Milky Way.”
“The big surprise was that this galaxy is actually similar to nearby galaxies, which is contrary to all expectations from the model and previous, less detailed, observations,” said co-author Filippo Fraternali of the Copteist Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen . in the Netherlands.
Studying an infant galaxy that allows astronomers to see the universe when it was just 10% of its current age is important for understanding how galaxies form and evolve. It is unclear how a streamlined galaxy could have formed immediately after the Big Bang, and indicates that the early universe may be less chaotic once believed.
While they bear many similarities, astronomers expect SPT0418-47 to evolve into a galaxy uniquely from the Milky Way. They speculate that it will eventually join the class of elliptical galaxies.
In the future, astronomers hope that these infant disk galaxies are normal and how chaotic they are to advance our understanding of the evolution of these galaxies.