July 14, 2024

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They discover a galaxy very similar to the Milky Way, but in the early universe

They discover a galaxy very similar to the Milky Way, but in the early universe

An artistic representation of the barred spiral galaxy Circe-2112, observed in the early universe. The Earth is reflected in an imaginary bubble surrounding the galaxy, indicating the connection between the Milky Way and CEERS-2112.

Photo: Luca Costantin/CAB/CSIC-INTA

Those who study galaxies in the universe agree on one point, which is that barred spiral galaxies, such as the Milky Way, have been more common since the second half of the history of the universe, which is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. (can read: Chimpanzees apply this military strategy that was thought to be limited to humans)

In other words, galaxies that are a little more “organized,” like the ones our planet is in, are the product of the last 6.9 billion years. However, a recent study involving more than 30 researchers from around the world shattered this consensus.

Using observations made by the James Webb Space Telescope, the team of astronomers, led by Luca Costantin, a researcher at the Center for Astrobiology (CAB) in Madrid (Spain), discovered the galaxy CERS-2112. (You may be interested in: The oldest continents in the Milky Way may be older than Earth)

The discovery of this galaxy, which formed shortly after the Big Bang, explains astronomer Alexander de la Vega, a researcher at the University of California and co-author of the paper, “demonstrates that the galaxies of the early universe could have been arranged like the Milky Way.” The Road . . “This is surprising because galaxies were much more chaotic in the early universe and very few of them had structures similar to the Milky Way.”

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As Kostantin puts it, the discovery contradicts expectations, as the discovery “reveals that galaxies similar to the Milky Way already existed 11.7 billion years ago, when the universe was only 15% of its current age.” (You can also read: This is the most colorful picture we have of the universe)

To make this discovery, scientists focused on galactic bars, “a structure formed by stars inside galaxies,” De La Vega explained. In the nearby Universe, spiral galaxies are expected to have an elongated band in their central regions, just as the Milky Way does.

But the same does not happen for the primitive universe. Theoretical models indicate that conditions that existed billions of years ago were not conducive to the formation of elongated galactic bars. However, the bar of CEERS-2112 has a shape similar to that of our galaxy. (You may be interested in: Astronaut Frank Borman, who led the first mission to orbit the moon, has died at the age of 95)

According to de la Vega, this makes a lot of sense for science, because it means “that some aspects of our theories about the formation and evolution of galaxies need to be revised.”