News24

Astronomers find rare spiral galaxy

2012-07-19 07:29

Paris - Astronomers said they had stumbled upon an astonishing spiral galaxy that was born nearly 11 billion years ago, a finding that could spur a rethink of how galaxies formed after the Big Bang.

Dubbed BX442, the ancient star cluster was discovered in a survey of 300 distant galaxies carried out by the powerful Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

"Lo and behold, with no warning, BX442 and its spiral galaxy just popped out of the image. We couldn't believe it!" said Alice Shapley of the University of California Los Angeles, reported in Nature journal.

"We were not expecting such a beautiful pattern, given that the vast majority of star-forming galaxies in the early universe look so irregular and lumpy."

BX442 is the first "grand design" spiral galaxy to be observed so early in history.

Located 10.7 billion light years away, it was created some three billion years after the universe was born in a superheated flash.

A "grand design" galaxy formation is one with well-defined arms spiralling out in opposite directions from a central cluster of stars in a pattern resembling an "S", like our Milky Way.

Other galaxies observed this far back in time have irregular, clumpy structures, with conditions too hot to allow them to settle down into a spiral.

"The vast majority of old galaxies look like train wrecks," said Shapley.

"The discovery of BX442 tells us that a spiral pattern can form in the early universe, which we did not know," and represents a link between early, turbulent galaxies and the rotating spiral kind we find today.

Studying BX442 may help astronomers understand how spiral galaxies form.

Comments
  • jay.blaze.16 - 2012-07-19 09:08

    Beautiful Galaxy- but you just have to appreciate the absolute ignorance of these 'astronomers' when they spew out these astronomical assumptions based on pure speculation! '..it was CREATED billions of years ago'. Really? Just because something is billions of light years away doesn't prove it was CREATED billions of light years ago- it just proves that it's billions of light years away! Let me give a more practical example: If you were standing in Cape Town gazing out over the Atlantic Ocean and the lights of Rio, from 6000km away, came into view- does that then prove Rio was CREATED 0.002 seconds before Cape Town? OF COURSE NOT- WHAT A RIDICULOUS ASSUMPTION! It only proves the distance- nothing more! Don't be so easily fooled by these Charlatans people!

      zane.zeiler - 2012-07-19 09:18

      Oh dear, here we go... Go crawl back into your cave and read your bible you uninformed troglodyte you...

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-07-19 09:28

      Is the distance from Cape Town to Rio expanding like the universe? What a ridiculous statement!! You know zip about astronomy and yet you call astronomers charlatans, pffff pure projection.

      Leon - 2012-07-19 11:01

      It does however prove that it must have existed billion of years ago. To take your Cape and Rio exmaple. What you would see is what Rio would have looked 0.02 seconds ago, hence Rio must have exited 0.02 seconds ago. However, your right, it does not prove that Rio is only 0.02 seconds old, or that Rio existed prior to Cape Town. Only that Rio did exist 0.02 seconds ago.

      grant.sher.1 - 2012-07-19 13:33

      Well said Jay - actually does not even prove the distance, even this is pure speculation - they have found stars 34 billion light years away, and they obviously will never tell you about this because the universe is only 14 - 15 billion old, so 34 is impossible - so we hush it up, rather than say that we actually do not know how to measure. Astronomers have found mass bridges between stars that are 500 million light years away and 2.5 Billion light years away, these mass bridges of this length are also impossible, saying we do not understand what we are doing. Nothing wrong with that, but when we hush our results and pretend that we do understand, then we are being downright deceitful, and unfortunately deceit seems to be the ruling law whether we are talking astronomy, evolution, or any type of historical type science.

  • margie.swanepoel - 2012-07-19 09:20

    Jay.blaze.16 I would be very interested to know what your qualifications are? Doctors degee in Science? Matric? How can I accept what you are saying if I don't know what your knowledge is.

      hermann.bohmer - 2012-07-19 09:35

      And what is yours? If his qualification are relevant, then so is everybody else's...

      Mike - 2012-07-19 09:45

      Herman, FNWitch isn't putting forward an opinion such as jay.blaze16 has. He/she is merely trying to ascertain the validity of the individuals expertise in this field. I think that's a valid request pertaining to a scientific article.

      Leon - 2012-07-19 11:10

      Its called simple logic. you dont need a degree in anything. If the galazy, is located 10.7 billion light years away, and we see it today, it means it must have existed 10.7 billion years ago. However, that in itself is no proof that the it was created 3 billion years after the universe was born (when was that? anyway?). Just that it is at least 10.7 billions years old.

      hermann.bohmer - 2012-07-20 08:00

      Mike/ Leon, I agree, however if this is a scientic article, and someone wants to give opinion he must put his qualifications down as well( the view of FNWitch). It was an opinion to start with. One doesn't need a qualification to have a opinion. Leon, Explain to me the logic, yours anyway. How was the age of the universe and specific this galaxy determined? Was it a educated guess, or was it verified by Carbon testing, any testable, contemporary evidence, even empeical evidence? I honestly want to know. According to you the age of a galaxy is based on the distance from the earth/ our galaxy. Seems easy enough... . Carbon dating/ evidence show earth being 4.5 Billion yrs old, yet we didnt apply you logic here, If we did, earth would be at 0 billion yrs old. to conflicting answer. So, where was the estimated start of the universe? Here at our galaxy? Where then? I have no expertise in this field, through I am asking so I can understand. Thanks

  • LanfearM - 2012-07-19 09:23

    Gorgeous and new info. Good news.

  • hermann.bohmer - 2012-07-19 09:33

    "Located 10.7 billion light years away, it was created some three billion years after the universe was born in a superheated flash." Great news !!!! What makes me wonder the superheated flash of when the universe was born( it was born?), should it not be actaully just as old as the flash or universe, or is the "create" portion only calculated from the time it stayed in the current form as depicted above?

      Mike - 2012-07-19 09:54

      Hermann. Please remember that you are responding to the announcement made by astronomers as it is REPORTED BY THE JOURNALISTS/EDITORS ON NEWS24. Your question may or may not be valid but I would suggest you study the original report as issued by the astronomers for a better understanding of what was actually made known.

      hermann.bohmer - 2012-07-20 08:02

      Mike, where do I find the original report?

  • jay.blaze.16 - 2012-07-19 09:40

    @hondbyt- get your heaed out your ass, you believe a lie! @DanielDennett- you just proved my point on ignorance! Rio and Cape Town ARE in fact moving further apart- it's called Plate Tectonics, go look it up sometime! @FNWitch- I graduated from the 'College of Common Sense'- no better than that in my opinion.

      jody.beggs - 2012-07-19 12:35

      @jay.blaze.16 blazing your socks again ? Do you "believe" the earth to be 6000 years old ? What evidence do you have ? Damn the man.

  • vlarismam - 2012-07-19 11:06

    Really News24 - WHY are you showing a picture of Messier 83 instead of BX442?

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-07-19 12:56

      Maybe they didn't have a picture of BX442.

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