The Big Bang Theory describes how our portion of spacetime and matter came into being, as they are all composing the observable Universe. There could be countless other universes out there that together form the Multiverse, as astrophysicists are taking this idea a lot more seriously during the recent years. Whether there’s only one Universe or more, the Big Bang Theory doesn’t necessarily describe how our whole reality came into existence.
But still, the Big Bang Theory tells us for sure that 13.7 billion years ago, not even atoms were formed. It took about 380,000 years for protons, neutrons, and electrons to form the first atoms from the Universe. Therefore, the amount of time needed for the ‘big stuff’ like galaxies, stars, and planets to form was obviously much higher. But scientists just identified a galaxy that could defy that model.
Newfound galaxy was reionizing the intergalactic environment 13 billion years ago
This means that the newfound galaxy was born when the Universe was ‘only’ about 700 million years old. Named as A370p_z1, the galaxy was discovered by a team of astronomers from University College London (UCL), and the following names are included: Romain Meyer, the lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student with the UCL Astrophysics Group, Dr. Nicolas Laporte, Prof. Richard S Ellis, as well as Prof. Anne Verhamme and Dr. Thibault Garel from the University of Geneva.
Dr. Meyer told Universe Today the following:
By looking at distant galaxies, we look into the early Universe, as the light has traveled for billions of years before reaching us. This is fantastic as we can look at what galaxies were like billions of years ago, but it comes with several drawbacks.
He also added:
This discovery confirms that early galaxies could be extremely efficient at leaking ionizing photons, which is an important hypothesis of our understanding of “cosmic reionization” – the epoch when the intergalactic medium, 13 billion years ago, transitioned from neutral to ionized (e.g. electrons were ripped off hydrogen atoms by these energetic photons).
The new research was presented during the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS). Due to the ongoing pandemic, the meeting was made only online.