Research reveals universe's oldest galaxies

Observations of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe could give new insight into how many systems first formed.
By Joseph Scalise | Aug 20, 2018
A group of astronomers from Durham University have discovered some of the universe's oldest galaxies, according to brand new research published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The ancient systems are a staggering 13 billion years old, which means they first began to form about 100 million years after the Big Bang. They also are relatively close to Earth, orbiting around the Milky Way.

That proximity is one of the most surprising things about the new finding, as it could allow researchers to get more insight into the beginnings of the universe.

"Finding some of the very first galaxies that formed in our universe orbiting in the Milky Way's own backyard isthe astronomical equivalent of finding the remains of the first humans that inhabited the Earth," said study co-author Carlos Frenk, a researcher from Durham University, according toUSA Today."It is hugelyexciting."

The first hydrogen atoms formed when the universe was roughly 380,000 years old. From there, they turned into clouds and began to both cool and settle into small clumps of dark matter.

That time period -- known as the "cosmic dark ages" -- lasted for about 100 million years until the gas inside the clouds began to form into stars. Those objects eventually created the very first galaxies.

That newly discovered systems perfectly match up with the current predictions of galaxy formation, suggesting that the models are correct. In that way, further study of the systems will likely help researchers get a much better idea of the most ancient galaxies and help them test different theoretical models as well.

"If you go and examine these primitive galaxies, you should find bizarre things about them. Being the first ones,they should have properties that are unique to them," added Frenk, according to BBC News.


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