The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered a twin of the Milky Way galaxy deep in the universe.
The galaxy formed shortly after the Big Bang, which was previously considered impossible.
This could mean that there is an element missing from our models of the origins of the universe.
the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Discover the most distant example of a galaxy in the universe that resembles the Milky Way.
The galaxy, called CEERS-2112, is more than 11.7 billion years old and is the first such example. Barred spiral galaxyThis has never been seen.
Astronomers were surprised by their discovery because Cosmological models He assumed that barred spiral galaxies formed about 6.9 billion years after the Big Bang.
The latest discovery was published in the journal “nature“It could upend our models of the universe and how dark matter influenced early galaxy formation, according to the study authors.
There is a barred spiral galaxy at the beginning of the universe
With its advanced imaging capabilities, the James Webb Space Telescope has allowed us to see the early universe with greater precision than ever before It is considered.
The latest study is no exception. To a layman, the image below might look like little more than a dot of color – and when considering information from the early days of the universe, that’s the kind of image we’re typically working with.
But with these Precision measuring tools Through the James Webb Space Telescope, scientists were able to find important information about the properties of star 2112. There is no doubt in their minds: this image indicates that it is a barred spiral galaxy.
But this galaxy is at the third redshift, an engineering term that indicates it formed about two billion years after the birth of the universe.
This is a mystery, because a barred spiral galaxy is a very big undertaking for such a young universe.
Previous models assumed that such complex galaxies would require at least a few billion years to evolve. Scientists had thought that a barred spiral galaxy would not be found until the universe was about 6.9 billion years old.
“The discovery of Circe-2112 shows that this could happen in a fraction of that time, about a billion years or less,” Alexander de la Vega, a physicist and cosmologist at the University of California, Riverside, said in a statement. press release To the results.
“It is the first research paper to discover in the early universe these spiral galaxies that had a disk with a central bar,” Whitley Rosas Guevara, an astrophysicist at the Donostia International Physics Center in Spain, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters. El Pais.
The results could shed light on the beginnings of dark matter
The new findings suggest that something is wrong with models that predict what happened in the early days of the universe.
“In the past, when the universe was very young, galaxies were unstable and chaotic. It was assumed that ‘bars could not form or last long in the galaxies of the early universe,'” de la Vega said.
The simulations “really struggle to reproduce such systems at these ages,” said Luca Costantin, lead author of the study and an astrophysicist at the Astrobiology Center in Madrid. In a conversation with Space.com“.
“We now need to understand what key physical component is missing from our models — if anything is missing,” says Kostantin.
One factor that doesn’t quite agree with this is the role of dark matter in the universe The first days Formation of galaxies.
As a reminder, the matter that makes up every person on Earth, our planet, our galaxy, and everything we can observe is ordinary matter, or baryon. However, physicists believe that baryons make up only 5% of the universe. The other 95 percent – about 27 percent of Dark matter And 68% dark energy – still big mysteries of physics.
Some models suggest there was an “abundance” of dark matter in the early days of the universe, according to study co-author Jairo Abreu, a researcher at the University of La Laguna.
But that doesn’t make sense in light of recent findings: barred spiral galaxies are more likely to be made of baryon, Abreu says.
This suggests that “these models may need to adjust for the amount of dark matter forming galaxies in the early universe, as dark matter is thought to influence the rate of bar formation,” de la Vega said.
Read the original article in English here.
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