Galaxies in the early Universe are immersed in a mysterious fog - a cloud of hydrogen. But at a later stage of development, this formation disappears. Researchers managed to get the first images of this dissipative fog.
This is an interesting phenomenon: if we look at distant stars, we will actually move in time. The light from these stars went so long to us that we are observing an object in the past. Therefore, the study of distant galaxies will allow to understand the origin of the Milky Way. Astronomers have long believed that during the formation of the galaxy is surrounded by a ring of gaseous hydrogen. It is a kind of fog present in the early universe. At a later time, we no longer observe this feature.
Recently, scientists managed to capture a distant galaxy COLA1, named by Hawaiian researchers. This is a bright galaxy showing a hydrogen cloud, some parts of which have already disappeared. Now we have the opportunity to study what is behind this process.
Observation of the COLA1 galaxy demonstrates two peaks in the graph for Lyman-alpha (red) radiation. This indicates a dispersing fog A picture of a mist shrouded galaxy is different from the usual assumptions. In a particular case, the object was monitored with a telescope in Chile, which analyzed the spectrum of light. The image is a graph with different lines for different colors of light. Each of them affects the specific characteristics of the galaxy. The presence of fog (a cloud of hydrogen) was able to determine from the radiation Lyman-alpha. Galaxy COLA1 showed as many as two peaks.
The fog functions as a kind of nursery for young galaxies, providing them with optimal conditions for their formation. If the fog around the Milky Way were preserved, then we could see many small satellite galaxies, like the Magellanic Clouds.
COLA1 is not the only distant galaxy studied by a specific team. In 2015, they found an unusual CR7, which seems to contain no elements heavier than helium. For decades astronomers have been searching for the first generation of galaxies. Further observations showed that the initial assumption was incorrect and a lot of carbon is present in CR7. Scientists plan to continue to study the features of fog, to understand how it disappears and when it happens.