A ‘Fully-Developed’ Galaxy Mysteriously Lies at The Outskirts of The Universe

When the Universe was only 1.4 billion years old, it shouldn’t have had any ‘normal’ galaxies around. But once again, the standard models that scientists have for celestial bodies are proven wrong. Nature is also at duty and willing to practically yell at us all that we still have a lot more to learn about the Universe.

The galaxy in question is called SPT–S J041839–4751.9 (or SPT0418 for short), and it was discovered by using the South Pole Telescope that observes light in millimeter wavelengths. The galaxy is located mysteriously at 12.4 billion light-years away from us, which means that we’re seeing it the way it was 12.4 billion years ago when the light left it.

How to define a fully-developed galaxy

There’s practically no such thing, considering that stars are born and die every single day within a galaxy. Galaxies usually have hundreds of billions of stars, so there’s no need to worry that they’ll run out of material anytime soon. Scientists estimate that there are about 150 billion stars born per year in the whole observable Universe. Galaxies can also change their shapes, and they are of four main types: elliptical, spiral, barred spiral, and irregular.

Thanks to the European Southern Observatory’s YouTube channel, we have a good look at the newfound galaxy:

The same source writes:

SPT0418-47 is gravitationally lensed by a nearby galaxy, appearing in the sky as a near-perfect ring of light, shown at the start of the video. At the end, we see the image of SPT0418-47 that astronomers obtained when they used a new computer modelling technique to reconstruct its real shape and motion of gas.

As for the early Universe, most galaxies didn’t have one of the shapes mentioned earlier, but were rather chaotic. As for the SPT0418 galaxy, scientists were surprised to find out that it was surprisingly non-chaotic and similar to the Milky Way.



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