Astronomers Have Discovered A Galaxy That Shouldn’t Exist

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Astronomers have noticed a large disk galaxy, similar to ours, and it formed about twelve and a half billion years ago when our universe was just over one billion years old.

However, scientists analyzed the galaxy, and, based on what is currently known about galaxy formation, the newly found galaxy shouldn’t even exist!

About The Galaxy

The discovery is known as Galaxy DLA0817g, but astronomers called it the Wolfe Disk in honor of astronomer Arthur M. Wolfe, a former doctoral advisor to most authors of the study.

It is the most distant rotating disk galaxy ever observed by them. The discovery was made with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array of telescopes in Chile, also known as ALMA.

Estimates say that the galaxy’s disk has a mass of 70billion times that of our sun. Also, the disk is rotating at 170 miles per second, similar to the Milky Way. However, galaxies with stable, well-formed disks like the Milky Way formed progressively and were born later in the universe’s timeline, with some of them dating even 6 billion years after the Big Bang.

Early State

Soon after the Big Bang, the universe was experiencing a blank slate. However, that state was followed by galaxy formation and the overall messy process.

Marcel Neeleman, lead study author and postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, stated that the majority of the galaxies which existed in the early universe ” look like train wrecks because they underwent consistently and often ‘violent’ merging.”

According to him, the hot mergers ” make it difficult to form well-ordered, cold rotating disks as we observe in our present universe.”

Researchers continued analyzing data and concluded that the galaxy formed and grew in a non-typical manner – cold-mode accretion.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.