An Ancient Galaxy is Raising More Questions about Galaxy Formation

If you’re among the average people, surely you know that the lack of gravity would make our lives on Earth practically impossible. We would be floating in the atmosphere along with the cars, the animals, the objects from our houses, and so on. But few people know about the crucial role that gravity has been playing in the formation of every galaxy, star, and planet from the Universe.

Whether we like to admit it or not, humanity still needs to learn a lot more about galaxy formation, and a new discovery proves it once more. Astronomers spotted the galactic disk of gas and stars from a very old galaxy dubbed as DLA0817g, and which formed during a totally unexpected time.

1.5 billion years after the Big Bang

Astronomers are astonished that the newfound galaxy could form so early in the Universe – only 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, when our solar system didn’t even exist. Marcel Neeleman, who is an astronomer at Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, is also shocked by the discovery as he said:

We found a galaxy that has a lot of cold gas in it,

Neeleman and his colleagues had been using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile while hunting for galaxies in front of quasars. Furthermore, follow-up observations with the Hubble Space Telescope were needed. Marcel Neeleman also added:

While previous studies hinted at the existence of these early rotating gas-rich disk galaxies, thanks to ALMA we now have unambiguous evidence that they occur as early as 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang,

Neeleman and his colleagues believe that the new discovery means that most of the first generation of galaxies formed through either collision with other young galaxies or cold-mode accretion. The discovery of the ancient DLA0817g galaxy is reported in a paper from the journal Nature.

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