The study of our universe continues incessantly. While it is true that recently planetary scientists have shown us incredible images from Mars and made us listen to disturbing melodies coming from the surface of Venus, now it is an amazing photo that captivates those who let themselves be kidnapped by the stars.
We are faced with none other than an image of the oldest spiral galaxy ever known, which was formed 12.4 billion years ago. Officially called BRI 1335-0417, was first photographed by the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile. In fact, this is an exceptional document, demonstrating how these types of galaxies began to form. already 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang. Certainly much sooner than previously assumed.
The photo was published as part of a study in the journal Science, and takes us back to the time when galaxies began to resemble modern ones. BRI 1335-0417 is therefore the oldest spiral galaxy found so far. It was identified by two Japanese scientists, Takafumi Tsukui and Satoru Iguchi of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (Naoj).
And if the discovery could seem literally light years away from you, know that it is actually very important, as explained by the speakerphone of Kai Noeske, communications officer for the European Space Agency:
The interesting thing about all of this is that in these spiral arms the gas is compressed. So they are actually a catalyst for triggering the formation of new stars.
Consequently, this fascinating creature generated in the early universe could explain us in some way how they formed and evolved galaxies similar to our Milky Way. In the past it had never been identified due to the high concentration of dust that obscured the light of its stars. Thanks to new technologies we can both admire it and understand its scientific relevance through simulation of birth in this video.
According to studies, galaxy formation reached its peak about 3.3 billion years after the Big Bang, when most of the stars in the universe began to form. Spiral galaxies are currently estimated to account for about 70% of those in the observed universe.