The rapid death of a monstrous galaxy

The rapid death of a monstrous galaxy

An international astronomer team spotted a massive inactive galaxy at a time when the universe was only 1.65 billion years old.

Scientists believe that most galaxies from this era should be low-mass and form stars. But, as Professor Karl Glazbruck of the Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputer Swinberg says, this specimen is dead and has reached gigantic proportions.

In a short period of time, the galaxy ZF-COSMOS-20115 managed to form all its stars (3 times more than in the Milky Way) due to the extreme star explosive event. But after a billion years after the Big Bang, all processes stopped, and it became “red and dead”. These are common cases, but not for that time.

The galaxy is incredibly dense and contains 300 billion stars. And all of them are equipped with space the size of the distance from the Sun to the Orion Nebula. Scientists are still trying to understand why galaxies are dying. Until recently, the models took into account the dead galaxies, which existed only 3 billion years after the birth of the Universe. Therefore, this finding set a new record and became a challenge for the scientific community.

The researchers used the Keck Observatory telescopes in Hawaii to detect galaxy signatures using the unique MOSFIRE spectrograph. They used deep spectra at wavelengths close to infrared to establish accurate signs. This would indicate the presence of ancient stars and the absence of the formation of new ones. I had to watch two nights to demonstrate the whole nature of the galaxy. Even with such powerful telescopes like Keck, it takes a long time to find absorption lines. They are much weaker than emission ones (created by active galaxies).

After collecting information about enough light to measure the spectrum of galaxies, you can decipher what elements are present in it and create a time frame. The star formation rate in this galaxy is less than 1/5 of the solar mass per year. But 700 million years ago, it developed 5,000 times faster.

“It formed as a huge firework in just 100 million years,” says Glazbrook.

On a cosmic scale, it can be said that this happened very brightly and in an extremely short period of time, like a flash. Submillimeter waves are emitted by hot dust blocking another light. This process will help to understand when these fireworks exploded, and how much a significant role was played in the development of the primary Universe.

In 2018, they plan to launch a new-generation space telescope, James Webb. It will help create large samples of dead galaxies due to the powerful sensitivity, a large mirror and the absence of the Earth's atmosphere.

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