We as modern humans are so lucky to be able to observe with our powerful telescopes the entire history of the Universe unfolding before our very eyes. As more far away as we look in space, the more we look back in time. This phenomenon happens because we see cosmic objects the way they were when the light emitted by them left.
Light also needs time to reach us, and it could need thousands, millions, and even billions of years if the object that created it is too far away from Earth.
‘Cosmic ring of fire’ galaxy spotted
To capture the stunning images of the galaxy, the researchers involved had been using images gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope and spectroscopic data brought up by the WM Keck Observatory.
The newly discovered galaxy is R5519, and it’s located 11 billion light-years away. This means that the galaxy existed in the early Universe when it was just a ‘child’ less than 3 billion years. During those times, our solar system wasn’t even formed. Our Sun is 4.6 billion years old, and the Earth is a little younger: 4.54 billion years old. Surprisingly enough, it is believed that the first forms of life started to emerge pretty much at the same time with the birth of our planet.
Tiantian Yuan, who is lead author of the new study regarding the R5519 galaxy, confirmed the obvious:
It is a very curious object that we’ve never seen before,
It looks strange and familiar at the same time.
That enormous gap present in the center of the galaxy has a diameter of two billion times longer than the distance between our planet and the Sun. The R5519 galaxy got its name of the ‘cosmic ring of fire’ by reasons that you’ve already guessed: based on its luminous ring where the galactic activity is taking place.
The discovery was presented in a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.