A Milky Way-like galaxy detected 12 billion light-years away

POR AFP

A beautiful ring of light on black background: astronomers announced this Wednesday that they had detected a galaxy similar to the Milky Way located 12 billion light years away.

Repertoriated with the code SPT0418-47, it is so distant that its light took more than 12,000 million years to arrive, which is why it is seen as it was when the Universe was 1,400 million years old, that is, only 10% his current age, says in a press release the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which participated in this discovery. At that time, the galaxies were still forming.

But, this “baby” galaxy, located by the powerful ALMA radio telescope network Installed in northern Chile, it curiously resembles the Milky Way: the same great density of stars around the central bulb and the same rotating disk.

A huge surprise to astronomers who did not believe that this type of structure could have formed 12 billion years ago.

“It is the first time that the presence of a bulb has been detected in a Universe then so young, which gives SPT0418-47 the character of the most distant ‘lookalike’ in the Milky Way”, ESO is enthusiastic.

Another big surprise of importance for scientists: there is no trace of turbulence or instability within the galaxy that even seems surprisingly calm (…) which can infer that the young Universe was perhaps less chaotic than it is I thought, even shortly after the Big Bang. “

“This we have discovered is quite puzzling: despite the fact that it forms stars at a high rate and is the site of highly energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the best-ordered galactic disk observed to date in the young Universe,” says Simona Vegetti , from the German Max Planck Institute, co-author of the study published this Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

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However, “this result contradicts the set of forecasts from previous digital simulations and observation data, less detailed”, comments Filippo Fraternali from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, who also participated in this study.

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