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Thu Aug 30, 2018, 08:16 PM

Monster Galaxy Churns Out 1,000 Times As Many Stars As Our Own


COSMOS-AzTEC-1 is almost 13 billion years old highly organized but unstable and could shed light on galaxy evolution



Artist’s rendering of COSMOS-AzTEC-1. (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)

By Jason Daley
smithsonian.com
3 hours ago

SMARTNEWS Keeping you current
Monster Galaxy Churns Out 1,000 Times As Many Stars As Our Own
COSMOS-AzTEC-1 is almost 13 billion years old highly organized but unstable and could shed light on galaxy evolution
image: https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/Jn-AQuFEH2_3TzE-RYzvWV6nVs0=/800x600/filters:no_upscale()/

Aztec Galaxy
Artist’s rendering of COSMOS-AzTEC-1. (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)
By Jason Daley
SMITHSONIAN.COM
3 HOURS AGO
12500036
About 10 years ago, astronomers catalogued a galaxy 12.4 billion light years away called COSMOS-AzTEC-1, a giant “monster galaxy” believed to be an ancestor of massive modern galaxies like ours. Galaxies go through an evolutionary process, changing from disordered masses of gasses to star-filled stunners like our own beautiful Milky Way. Because researchers are viewing AzTEC-1 at the early stages of its existence, they expected that it would still be a little chaotic. But Sarah Lewin at Space.com reports the galaxy might be ahead of the curve: the monster galaxy is producing 1,000 times as many stars as the Milky Way.

Researchers got a closer look at what’s going on in this galaxy far, far, away using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, a telescope that has 10 times greater resolution of previous telescope models. Essentially, AzTEC-1 looks more mature than it is, but looks can be deceiving. Lewin reports that while the galaxy is certainly more productive than expected for its age, it isn’t exactly a well-oiled, steady star-making machine. And while it’s not a total mess like they’d predicted either, it might not remain sustainable for very long.

“A real surprise is that this galaxy seen almost 13 billion years ago has a massive, ordered gas disk that is in regular rotation instead of what we had expected, which would have been some kind of a disordered train wreck that most theoretical studies had predicted,” study co-author Min Yun of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says in a statement.

In most galaxies, there is one dense cluster of star-forming gas in the center. AzTEC-1, however, has two off-center clouds thousands of light years from its galactic center that are also dense enough to produce stars, the team reports this week in the journal Nature.


Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/monster-galaxy-churns-out-1000-times-many-stars-our-own-180970171/#wHbu4b5wtUUm1hEv.99

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