The earliest example of merging galaxies: astronomers recognize a cosmic collision from 13 BILLION YEAR to the early universe
- Two galaxies that are 13 billion light years away have been merged
- It is the previously known example of two galaxies that underwent the process
- Thousands of new stars are forming simultaneously within the merger
- Billions of years from now, our own galaxy is expected to do the same
Scientists say they have discovered the earliest known example of merging two galaxies, with a pair dating back 13 billion years.
In a recent paper, a team from Waseda University in Japan says that the pair of galaxies, known as B14-65666, started their process of slowly merging when the universe was only one billion years old, making them one of the first of such celestial bodies existing.
The discovery was made using the 66 telescopes of the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Atacama desert in Chile, which detected dust clouds, carbon and oxygen.
This suggests that the two – which might otherwise have turned out to be a blob of stars and gas – are actually two separate but merged conglomerates.
An image of two galaxies that ALMA researchers record provides insight into the history of how celestial bodies collide and evolve.
The method to detect three different galactic signals – carbon, dust and oxygen – represents an exciting new way to explore the universe, researchers say.
& # 39; With rich data from ALMA and HST, combined with advanced data analysis, we can merge the pieces to show that B14-65666 is a pair of merged galaxies in the earliest era of the universe & # 39 ;, said Takuya Hashimoto, a postdoctoral researcher at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in a statement.
& # 39; Detection of radio waves from three components in such a distant object clearly shows the high ability of ALMA to investigate the distant universe. & # 39;
From afar, the process of merging the two distant galaxies seems relatively quiet because the distance between most of the most massive objects in them is large enough to prevent a widespread collision.
Within the merger, however, a transformational change is taking place, as gases and dust mix and cause a chain reaction that drops thousands of stars at the same time.
The creation of those stars also happens to release a torrent of radiation, illuminates the gases in the universe and, after 13 billion years, ends up in our night sky where it was eventually picked up by ALMA telescopes.
In this artist's representation two galaxies come together – a critical process in how the formations grow
B14-65666 is perhaps the earliest known case of galaxies that fit together, but it is far from the only one.
In fact, one day, about 5 billion years from now, our own galaxy is thought to merge with the distant Andromeda galaxy, and is undergoing a process not unequal to the recently discovered couple.
Scientists say that the process of merging galaxies is essential for their growth and evolution, and with the new discovery they might be able to trace the history of the phenomenon further.
& # 39; Our next step is to search for nitrogen, another important chemical element and even the carbon monoxide molecule & # 39 ;, said Akio Inoue, a professor at Waseda University in a statement.
& # 39; Ultimately, we hope to understand the circulation and accumulation of elements and material in an observational manner in the context of galaxy formation and evolution. & # 39;
WHAT IS A GALAXY MONSTER?
Monster galaxies, also known as starburst galaxies, are believed to be ancestors of massive galaxies such as the Milky Way galaxy in today's universe.
The old objects appeared shortly after the Big Bang and are characterized by rapid star formation and mass growth, causing new stars to be born thousands of times above our own galaxies.
This leads to small but incredibly dense galaxies that quickly burn all their cosmic gas – the & # 39; fuel & # 39; used to create new stars.
Once they consume this gas, some within about 100 million years of age, it becomes resting or & # 39; red and dead & # 39; galaxies that we know today.
Scientists hope that studying the mysterious objects will answer the most important questions about the formation and evolution of modern galaxies, such as the Milky Way.
Monster galaxies, also known as starburst galaxies, are believed to be ancestors of massive galaxies such as the Milky Way galaxy in today's universe. This image is an artist & # 39; s impression of ZF-COSMOS-20115, a monster galaxy discovered in 2017
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