August 16, 2022

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A galaxy from the beginning of the universe amazes astronomers

A galaxy from the beginning of the universe amazes astronomers

MACS1149-JD1 is the oldest galaxy in which the rotation rate has been successfully measured. It turned out to be completely different from what it was in the case of more modern organisms of this type.

Behind the measurements are scientists from Tokyo Waseda University, who used the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) radio interferometer to monitor it. And although MACS1149-JD1 is very far from Earth, making it difficult to see due to its low brightness, the phenomenon of gravitational lensing has proven useful.

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Thanks to him, the galaxy cluster between us and the aforementioned galaxy caused the MACS1149-JD1 image to magnify and curvature. This shows how useful lenses can be, and provides vital information about a galaxy that formed just 500 million years after the Big Bang.

MACS1149-JD1 was formed about 500 million years after the Big Bang

Astronomers have used ALMA to measure the double-ionized oxygen in this galaxy’s disk, among other things. They also modeled the size and speed of rotation of the disk. The goal was to compare simulation results with actual observations and ultimately compare these results with those of younger galaxies such as the Milky Way.

What conclusions did the authors reach? First of all, they note that the MACS1149-JD1 is relatively small. Its diameter is about 3,000 light-years – by comparison, our galaxy is more than 100,000 light-years in diameter. In addition, they note that MACS1149-JD1 rotates at a speed of only 50 kilometers per second. Once again, aligning this result with the Milky Way, they realized that our galaxy is spinning four times faster.

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Details about this are available at Astrophysical Journal Letters. The post describes how galaxies are likely to be relatively small at first and have a low rotation rate. As billions of years pass, this speed begins to increase and its mass increases. The most accurate measurements should be possible thanks to the use of the James Webb Space Telescope, which made its scientific debut a few days ago.

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