The Most Distant Galaxy Ever Has Just Been Spotted

Astronomers have reported finding the most distant galaxy ever spotted, which was dubbed MAMBO 9. Utilizing Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the team of researchers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has captured the light of a gigantic galaxy detected only 970 million years after the Big Bang.​

As a matter of fact, the galaxy’s light was already spotted a decade ago utilizing the Max-Planck Millimeter Bolometer (MAMBO) instrument attached to the IRAM 30-meter telescope located in Spain and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer based in France. However, that observation alone was not relevant enough to unveil the distance of the galaxy.

Moreover, the results of the new report generated skepticism on the galaxy‘s existence because researchers could not detect it with other telescopes.

There is More to Find

ALMA’s sensitive instruments helped scientists estimate the distance of the controversial galaxy. 

Caitlin Casey of the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the research said“We found the galaxy in a new ALMA survey specifically designed to identify dusty star-forming galaxies in the early universe. And what is special about this observation is that this is the most distant dusty galaxy we have ever seen in an unobstructed way.”

​Frequently, the galaxies closer to our Solar System, block the light of other galaxies that are more distant. These cosmic bodies in the front act as a gravitational camera, as they bend the light from the more remote galaxies. Moreover, it also alters the image of the galaxy, making it difficult to spot the details.

In this research, astronomers directly spotted MAMBO-9, for instance, without the lens, which helped them estimate the object’s mass. The team discovered the fact that the mass of gas and dust in the galaxy is gigantic: ten times more than all the stars in the Milky Way. This suggests the fact that the galaxy has yet to birth most of its stars.​

Casey hopes that the ALMA survey will gift them more findings. The research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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