Astronomers are Astonished by Milky Way-type Galaxy that Shouldn’t Exist

Pretty much any cosmic object can have its counterpart into an everlasting expanding Universe. We have another proof for that claim, as researchers had been using Chile’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to find an infant galaxy that’s twelve billion years old. The galaxy was around when the Universe was ‘only’ 1.8 billion years old, but that’s not even the weirdest part.

Known as SPT–S J041839–4751.9 (or SPT0418-47 for short), the infant galaxy has characteristics similar to those of our own Milky Way galaxy. Both galaxies have stars arranged in relatively flat disks. But while our galaxy has between 100 billion and 200 billion stars, SPT0418-47 has only hundreds of thousands of stars.

Why the SPT0418-47 galaxy shouldn’t exist

The SPT0418-47 galaxy was born during a period in the existence of the Universe when disarray was dominating pretty much everything. At less than 2 billion years old, the Universe should have been too young to organize stars into flat disks like our own galaxy.

Francesca Rizzo, the first author of the study and an astronomy Ph.D. student from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, declared:

This result represents a breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation, showing that the structures that we observe in nearby spiral galaxies and in our Milky Way were already in place 12 billion years ago,

The scientists involved had been using the ALMA telescope for magnifying the light provided by SPT0418-47 and boost the resolution for observing the young galaxy’s features. The effect of the lensing and images obtained by ALMA reveals the mysterious and frightening looks of SPT0418-47. The infant star resembles a fiery black eye blinking slowly towards us. In some Earthly cultures, blinking is another way to say ‘Hello!’, and it may not be a coincidence that SPT0418-47 acts the same.

The new study was published in the journal Nature.

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Cristian Antonescu

About the Author: Cristian Antonescu

With a strong passion for astronomy since he was little and hundreds of articles written about this field, Cristian is a reliable writer who keeps the website up-to-date with news about the wonders of the Universe.

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