Most ancient spiral galaxy A1689B11 discovered by scientists

06 November 2017, 05:47 PM
Scientists detect most ancient spiral galaxy 'A1689B11'
Scientists detect most ancient spiral galaxy 'A1689B11'

While Sukanya Chakrabarti, an Indian origin researcher has pointed out the best places to host big black hole merging at the edges of spiral galaxies like Milky Way, another group of researchers from Australian National University (ANU) and Swinburne University of Technology has discovered the most ancient spiral galaxy in the universe. 

According to researchers, the galaxy, namely 'A1689B11' existed 11 billion years ago or 2.6 billion years after the Big Bang when the universe was way more younger and only one-fifth of its present age. The galaxy is also believed to provide insights into the early cosmos.

During the process, scientists applied a powerful technique that combines gravitational lensing with the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to verify the vintage and spiral nature of the galaxy.

Gravitational lenses are natures largest telescopes, created by massive clusters composed of thousands of galaxies and dark matter.

The cluster bends and magnifies the light of galaxies behind it in a manner similar to an ordinary lens, but on a much larger scale.

"This technique allows us to study ancient galaxies in high resolution with unprecedented detail," lead author Tiantian Yuan from ANU was quoted while talking about their findings.

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"We are able to look 11 billion years back in time and directly witness the formation of the first, primitive spiral arms of a galaxy," Yuan added.

"Studying ancient spirals like A1689B11 is a key to unlocking the mystery of how and when the Hubble sequence emerges," PTI quoted Renyue Cen from Princeton University in the US as saying.

"Spiral galaxies are exceptionally rare in the early universe, and this discovery opens the door to investigating how galaxies transition from highly chaotic, turbulent discs to tranquil, thin discs like those of our own Milky Way galaxy," Cen stated further.

"This galaxy is forming stars 20 times faster than galaxies today ? as fast as other young galaxies of similar masses in the early universe," he said.

"However, unlike other galaxies of the same epoch, A1689B11 has a very cool and thin disc, rotating calmly with surprisingly little turbulence. This type of spiral galaxy has never been seen before at this early epoch of the universe," Renyue added.

A couple of weeks back, another group of researchers has released the fourth-ever detection of gravitational waves coming from a black hole smash-up.

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The findings, set to be published in 'Astrophysical Journal Letters' have also shown the similarities between the environments of our very own Milky Way and those dwarf galaxies.

Small satellites or dwarf galaxies were believed to be the only perfect place to host black-hole merges till the date as they don’t have many stars or heavy metals left over from supernovae. But unfortunately, dwarf galaxies are hard to spot due to their low luminous quality, while big galaxies are easy to spot.

Researchers have further developed the ways to trace gravitational waves in the last one year.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Sunday, November 05, 2017 08:28 PM
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