Massive galaxy discoveredDate: 24 October 2019 Tags: Space
Astronomers have found a massive galaxy, dating back to the early universe, lurking in cosmic dust clouds, that may open the doors for discovering a new galaxy population type.
The researchers used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, a collection of 66 radio telescopes located in the high mountains of Chile to discover the galaxy.
Researchers found a blob of light from the telescope which could not be viewed in any other wavelength. This showed that the galaxy was hidden amidst cloud of dust.
According to the researchers, the signal came from so far away that it took nearly 12.5 billion years to reach the Earth, when the universe was still in its infancy.
The astronomers believe the discovery may solve a long-standing puzzle in astronomy about how some of the biggest galaxies in the early universe appear to have grown and matured very quickly against theoretical predictions.
Locating and identifying a massive galaxy in a small part of sky, 1/100th the size of moon showed that such galaxies may be hidden everywhere and may need extra effort to locate them.
Atacama Large Milimeter Array (ALMA)
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of 66 radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
This location was chosen for its high elevation and low humidity, factors which are crucial to reduce noise and decrease signal attenuation due to Earth's atmosphere.
ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early Stelliferous era and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.
ALMA is an international partnership among Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Chile. It is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation.
ALMA also participated in the Event Horizon Telescope project, which produced the first direct image of a black hole.