Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Most Ancient Spiral Galaxy Discovered by Astronomers

Image credit: James Josephides
 Using data collected by the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered the most ancient spiral galaxy to date. A1689B11, the spiral galaxy discovered by astronomers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, existed 11 billion years in the past, just 2.6 billion years after the Big Bang.
 Along with colleagues, Dr. Tiantian Yuan of the Swinburne University of Technology utilized a powerful technique that combines gravitational lensing with the precise instruments of NIFS to determine the age and the nature of this galaxy.
 “Studying ancient spirals like A1689B11 is a key to unlocking the mystery of how and when the Hubble sequence emerges,” said co-author Dr. Renyue Cen, of Princeton University. “Spiral galaxies are exceptionally rare in the early Universe, and this discovery opens the door to investigating how galaxies transition from highly chaotic, turbulent discs to tranquil, thin discs like those of our own Milky Way Galaxy.”
  “Our study shows some surprising features of A1689B11,” said Dr. Yuan. “This galaxy is forming stars 20 times faster than galaxies today — as fast as other young galaxies of similar masses in the early Universe. However, unlike other galaxies of the same epoch, A1689B11 has a very cool and thin disc, rotating calmly with surprisingly little turbulence. This type of spiral galaxy has never been seen before at this early epoch of the Universe.”

Read more about this fascinating story at: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/most-ancient-spiral-galaxy-05401.html

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