Artistic representation of COSMOS-AzTEC-1. Researchers observed an ancient monster galaxy that formed stars at an incredible and unusual speed. Experts described COSMOS-AzTEC-1
A monster galaxy 12.4 billion light-years from Earth makes stars a thousand times faster than the Milky Way.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array or ALMA, astronomers were able to create the most detailed anatomical map of COSMOS-AzTEC-1, an ancient monster galaxy first discovered in 2007.
Monster Galaxies, also known as starburst galaxies, are galaxies that undergo an exceptionally high rate of stars. Previously observed monster galaxies normally form stars at an incredible speed 100 times faster than the Milky Way. The COSMOS-AzTEC-1 defies all expectations.
In a press release from ALMA of Thursday, August 30, a team of scientists revealed that the molecular clouds in the monster galaxy are highly unstable, paving the way for the creation of stars at an incredible rate. In addition, there are two large clouds of gas-producing stars several thousand light-years from the center.
"In the most distant starburst galaxies, stars are actively forming in the center," the study said. Author Ken-ichi Tadak of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. "So it's surprising to find off-center clouds."
The researchers used ALMA to observe the distribution and movement of the gas within the monster galaxy. They were also able to obtain the highest resolution and most detailed map of the molecular gas of a distant monster galaxy.
Astronomers also described the COSMOS-AzTEC-1 as an "unstoppable monster" of its instability.
In other galaxies, the internal gravity and pressure equalization outward, the clouds that eventually collapse and form stars. When a star reaches the end of its life, it explodes and pushes the gas outward again. This process slows down the pace of star formation.
But within the billions of light-years away, monster galaxy gains gravity. Gases collapse into stars without pressure and push it outward to slow it down.
Astronomers estimate that the gas in COSMOS-AzTEC-1 is consumed within 100 million years or 10 times faster than in other galaxies.
The discovery was published in the journal Nature .
Why is it important?
Experts have no clear explanation why COSMOS-AzTEC-1 is so unstable. They hypothesize that its current state could have been caused by a galaxy collision that transported gas into a small area and ignited the formation of stars. The monster galaxy could reveal a connection between galaxy collisions and monster galaxies.
Astronomer and study co-author Min Yun also said that the unstoppable giant takes a look into the early universe. I was able to collect so much gas in the first place and then the whole Turning gas reserves into stars in no time, which cosmologically was a completely unknown issue that we could only speculate on, "Yun explained. "We have the first answers now."
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