The Universe is still a great mystery to us all, but everyday astronomy researchers find out bits and pieces that contribute to solving the big puzzle. And sometimes, to solve a galactic puzzle you have to go back to ancient times. Right now, ancient giant galaxies discovered by a team in Chile are causing great excitement.
When Universe is discussed, light and time are inextricably linked, we know that, for example, we can still see a star long after that star has died, because depending on its proximity to Earth, its light reaches us slower (or faster). Now, astronomers are observing the Universe on different wavelengths and they recently took a peek further in space, which equates with a peek back in time. Very far back in time. To be precise, almost as far as the Big Bang.
The team of astronomers at the Observatory in Chile has used the VISTA, an infrared survey telescope that helped them discover the youngest galaxies in the Universe, born shortly after the Big Bang. Although this is what they were looking for, they were shocked to find out that these galaxies are incredibly huge and incredibly many. Researchers uncovered not less than 574 massive galaxies formed around one billion years after the Big Bang, the scientist being certain that these are the oldest galaxies in the Universe.
However, astronomers are worried because according to the their studies so far, these galaxies should not even exist, as they consider that at such an early time only small galaxies would have been formed. Therefore, scientists around the world are debating whether everything we presently know about the forming of galaxies might be changed due to these recent discoveries, as they contradict the modern galaxy evolution model.
Moreover, the European Southern Observatory declared that these massive galaxies have very large quantities of dust, which is in fact the reason why the UltraVISTA detected them in the first place. Nonetheless, they are very difficult to spot, since to get to them, you need to pass all of these newer and brighter galaxies and even then, there is no guarantee you will be able to explore them in detail. It took astronomy researchers at the Chile Observatory almost six years from 2009 when they started the project until 2015 to actually find something and get their results.
So, what’s to be done? Well, what else than to keep looking and trying to further uncover the Universe’s mystery and how both ancient and modern galaxies were formed.
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