You would think that the large galaxies in the primeval universe there would be a lot of “fuel” left for the new stars, but a recent discovery suggests that this was not always the case. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA) I found first six galaxies (about 3 billion years after the Big Bang) that were unusually “dead,” that is, they would have run out of the cold hydrogen needed for star formation. This was the peak period for stellar births, according to lead researcher Kate Whitaker, so the disappearance of that hydrogen is a mystery.
The team found the galaxies thanks to a strong gravitational lens, using galaxy clusters to bend and magnify the light of the early universe. Hubble identified where stars had formed in the past, while ALMA detected cold dust (a substitute for hydrogen) to show where stars would have formed if the necessary ingredients were present.
Galaxies are believed to have expanded since then, but not by creating stars. Rather, they grew through mergers with other galaxies and small gases. Any further training would be limited at best.
The results are a testament to the combined power of Hubble and ALMA, not to mention Hubble’s capabilities. decades after its launch. At the same time, it emphasizes the limitations of both technology and human understanding by posing a series of questions. Whitaker noted that scientists don’t know why the galaxies died so quickly or what happened to cut off the fuel. Has the gas been heated, expelled, or simply consumed quickly? It may take some time to provide answers, if the answers are also possible.
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