A new study led by Christina Williams, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, has discovered an ancient galaxy that might have formed during the dawn of the universe 12.5 billion years ago. The discovery of this mysterious galaxy was by chance, and the development happened when Williams spotted a faint trace of light in new data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile.
The source of this shimmering blob perplexed Williams, as it came from an area where there is no presence of galaxies. Further research helped Williams to discover crucial footprints of a massive galaxy that might be 12.5 billion years old, which means the light took that long to reach the earth.
"It was very mysterious because the light seemed not to be linked to any known galaxy at all. When I saw this galaxy was invisible at any other wavelength, I got really excited because it meant that it was probably really far away and hidden by clouds of dust," said Williams, Science Daily reports.
Researchers in their study report published in the Astrophysical Journal noted that the light was likely caused by the dust particles that were heated by the stars as they formed inside the galaxy. The same dust particles created a cover around the flowing stars, and it might be the reason why this galaxy remained hidden from human view.
Researchers also noted that this newly discovered galaxy is as large as the Milky Way, but is considered more active with vigorous stars formation.
"We figured out that the galaxy is actually a massive monster galaxy with as many stars as our Milky Way, but brimming with activity, forming new stars at 100 times the rate of our own galaxy," said Ivvo Labbe, co-author of the study.
Experts believe that crucial details about such massive galaxies from the early days of the universe could be unveiled when NASA launches the James Webb telescope in 2021.
A few days back, another study conducted by a team of astronomers had suggested that a violent explosion had happened in the Center of Milky Way around 3.5 million years ago. This explosion was so powerful, and it sent a cataclysmic flare of energy through the galaxy.