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Current Affairs

Massive galaxy discovered

Date: 24 October 2019 Tags: Space

Issue

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.

 

Background

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.

 

Details

  • 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.