A mixed team of astronomers from the U.S. and Australia have discovered a massive ancient galaxy that formed in the early days of the universe.
Traces of the galaxy were uncovered accidentally, and the discovery was quite surprising since many members of the scientific community believed that galaxies of this type for nothing more than a myth. Signals emitted by the galaxy traveled for 12.5 billion years to reach Earth, according to the researchers.
One of the researchers who contributed to the study observed an interesting object in observations that were recorded with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (or ALMA). The object was quite interesting since the visible light did not appear to come from one of the visible galaxies. Further research revealed that the galaxy was invisible if other wavelengths were observed, which meant that it was located a great distance and surrounded by clouds of dust.
It is thought that the emission which was caught by ALMA may have been influenced by the warm glow of dust particles, which were heated by the formation of stars within the galaxy. These events are hidden by clouds of dust which conceal the stars and render the galaxy invisible.
The ancient galaxy could contain the same number of stars, which is found in our Milky Way, with star-forming at a rate which is up to 100 times higher in comparison to that of our galaxy.
Previous researchers suggested that some of the largest galaxies in the universe grew and matured very quickly, and the mechanics behind these processes remain a mystery. The mature galaxies seemed to appear out of thin air, and astronomers don’t have a chance to observe them while they form.
The new galaxy appears to be the missing link, sharing many traits with other massive galaxies that have been observed in the past. Further research will take in the future.