1335-0417 the light in the Galaxy BRI is 12.4 billion years old, when the universe was still very young. And yet, the galaxy seems to have a spiral structure in place, and adds more complexity to the question of when spiral galaxies like the Milky Way were actually formed. The discovery made in science is still the oldest spiral structure in any galaxy. It is estimated that 72 percent of all galaxies are spiral, but this number becomes smaller as we look back.
The galaxies are thought to have started in a haphazard manner and over time they have ended up becoming more spiral. The discovery of BRI 1335-0417, possibly thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA), expands our understanding of what the oldest galaxies in the universe were. Researchers were surprised to find established structures even in earlier galaxies, but observations show that this celestial object has not yet been seen.
Lead author Takafumi Tsukui, a graduate student at SOKENDAI, said in a statement, “I was encouraged because I have never seen such clear evidence of a distant galaxy rotating disk, spiral structure, and centralized mass structure in any previous literature.” “The quality of the ALMA data was so good that I could see so much detail that I thought it was a nearby galaxy.” There is one more interesting fact about BRI 1335-0417: it is quite large. The team estimates that it is roughly the mass of our own Milky Way, a galaxy that has hated other small galaxies for 13 billion years and is increasing gas.
“Since BRI 1335-0417 is a very distant object, we may not be able to see the real edge of the galaxy in this observation,” Tsukui commented. “BRI 1335-0417 was a giant for galaxies existing in the early universe.” Galaxies such as the ones we notice at the center of galaxy clusters may be the precursors of giant elliptical galaxies. A large galaxy collision could dramatically change the spiral shape of BRI 1335-0417, or the galaxy could spiral for a long time, we don’t know what it will hold in the future. All we can learn is about the Milky Way – and even about our own solar system. There is, of course, a gap between what we know about galaxy formation and evolution.
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