Scientists Accidentally Discover Two Hidden Galaxies That Were Formed At The Very Beginning Of The Universe

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Scientists Accidentally Discover Two Hidden Galaxies That Were Formed At The Very Beginning Of The Universe

Photo: ARTIST CONCEPT OF A GALAXY IN THE EARLY UNIVERSE. IMAGE: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. DAGNELLO


Scientists have discovered two new galaxies at the very edge of space and time, stunning the scientific community.


The discovery was made by sheer chance with the galaxies being hidden by a thick cloud of astronomical dust that had made them undetectable until now.


The team of scientists, led by Yoshinobu Fudamoto, an astronomer at the Research Institute for Science and Engineering at Waseda University in Japan, were using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an extremely sensitive piece of equipment, to map out galaxies in the far distance when the discovery was made.


The team was using part of the ALMA, known as the Reionization-Era Bright Emission Line Survey (REBELS) to study 40 very distant galaxies. It was then that they noticed two blurry objects that were later discovered to be galaxies themselves. They have since been named REBELS-12 and REBELS-29.


These galaxies would be impossible to identify using normal UV light or direct observation and it was only due to the ALMA's ability to detect far-infrared wavelengths that these serendipitous discoveries were made.


Fudamoto said that the discovery:


"Shows that our current (UV-based) census of very early galaxies is still incomplete."


These new galaxies were formed around 13 billion years ago not long after the emergence of the universe, anything further away than these galaxies is shrouded by a huge amount of light that means nothing can be identified. In effect, what we are seeing in these galaxies is almost the furthest back in time it is possible for any human-being to ever observe.


Many astronomers will now be using the same techniques to try to peer even deeper into space in the hope that more galaxies and ancient objects can be found. Such discoveries also have the potential to teach us more about the early universe and its behaviour in its earliest days.


The team report in their paper that has just been published:


"It is clear, however, that a blind, wide-area survey for such sources is required in the future to properly constrain their number density in blank fields. These surveys must observe substantially deeper than had been envisioned previously23 to sample the fainter dust-obscured, but otherwise 'normal' galaxies such as REBELS-12-2 and REBELS-29-2."


[h/t: Vice]


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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Accidentally Discover Two Hidden Galaxies That Were Formed At The Very Beginning Of The Universe
Scientists Accidentally Discover Two Hidden Galaxies That Were Formed At The Very Beginning Of The Universe
Scientists have discovered two new galaxies at the very edge of space and time, stunning the scientific community. The discovery was made by sheer cha
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