A team of astronomers combined data gathered by observatories all around the world to make an extraordinary discovery of multiple ancient massive galaxies. Researchers at the Insitute of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo have been suspecting the presence of unidentified objects for a long time.
In the past, The Hubble Space Telescope was used to identify these unknown structures, but with no success. However, using more technologically advanced observatories, they were finally able to find answers to their questions.
Tao Wang, one of the researchers, said: “This is the first time that such a large population of massive galaxies was confirmed during the first 2 billion years of the 13.7-billion-year life of the universe. These were previously invisible to us. This finding contradicts current models for that period of cosmic evolution, and will help to add some details, which have been missing until now.”
Ancient Massive Galaxies Discovery Could Shed More Light On Dark Matter
It sure is surprising that a galaxy of this size was so hard to see at first. Professor Kotaro Kohno explains that the recently-discovered galaxies emit such a faint light that not even the Hubble Telescope is capable of detecting the wavelengths. To identify those galaxies, scientists turned to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
Since these galaxies are so far away, their light is also stretched. As we know, the universe is continuously expanding, elongating visible light, which eventually turns into infrared light.
At first, some researchers found it hard to believe that these galaxies were as old as it seemed. The first suspicion suggesting their existence came from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Later on, ALMA was used to reveal details about them. The Very Large Telescope in Chile was the one to gather the data that suggests the galaxies’ ancient age. The discovery of these massive ancient galaxies means that scientists will have the opportunity to study the evolution of the supermassive black holes located inside them. Even more, massive galaxies offer the chance to explore the invisible dark matter.