They discover the most distant galaxy similar to the Milky Way ever observed

The revolution in telescopic observations James Webb The science of the cosmos is beginning to bear fruit: a team of researchers led by the Center for Astrobiology (CAB) has discovered it the most distant Milky Way-like galaxy yet observedwhich shows that the universe was more organized than thought in an early era.

The discovery, published this Wednesday in the journal Nature, shows a galaxy forming a spiral around a strip of stars – similar to the image of the Milky Way – that would have formed 11.7 billion years agowhen the universe was only 2.1 billion years old, 15% of your current age The age is estimated at 13.8 billion years.

The discovery of ‘ceers-2112‘, the scientific name given by researchers to the newly discovered galaxy, refutes the idea that the structure of spiral galaxies like the Milky Way would not have been consolidated until the universe had reached half its current age (a little less than 20 years ago ). 7,000 million years ago).

“Our study shows that Galaxies similar to the Milky Way existed 11.7 billion years ago“, explained one of the lead authors, Luca Costantin, researcher at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) at the CAB in Madrid, in an interview with EFE.

Costantin detailed that Ceers-2112 is considered a barred spiral galaxy “because it is a type of barred spiral galaxy.” Spiral arms rotating around a central area, where there is a rod-shaped star structure. And the strangest thing is that the galaxy has as many stars as our galaxy has at this point in the universe.”

It is “a triumph for a new generation”

70% of the galaxies known to date in the nearby universe have this spiral structure. The researcher emphasized that the observation of “ceers-2112” was “made possible thanks to “the extraordinary capabilities” of the James Webb Space Telescope, whose technology and instrumentation have allowed us to discover and study the morphology of distant galaxies like this in detail. Specifically, the scientific data was collected during telescopic observations in a region of the sky between the constellations Ursa Major and Boyero.

And that is just the beginning. Costantin has moved on: “We still have something to do between 8 and 10 years of observations with this telescope “This will enable the discovery of new galaxies and a better understanding of the physical processes that occurred in the first phase of the universe’s existence.”

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The next steps will therefore be to further study the galaxy found to decipher its chemical composition and understand it better. “Study how galaxies acquire the structure that characterizes them “Nowadays it is important to know the processes of creation and evolution of the universe,” added another author, Cristina Cabello, a researcher at the Institute of Particle Physics and Cosmos at the Complutense University of Madrid.

“The extraordinary observational work described and interpreted in this study identifies the unexpected existence of highly organized and gravitationally bound matter in the form of a barred galaxy contains around 4 billion solar masses at a time when the universe was only 2,000 million years old,” Juan Pérez-Mercader, principal physics researcher specializing in astrophysics and cosmology at Harvard University, told EFE.

Pérez-Mercader, founder and first director of the CAB, explained that it is research “whose cutting-edge observations and quantitative interpretation suggest that we still have much to learn about the evolution of the universe and the history of dark matter.” “and their interaction with baryonic matter (ordinary matter that forms living things, planets and stars) to understand the processes that must have occurred to give rise to a galaxy like this.”

This discovery indicates “that there is a much faster-than-expected evolution of this galaxy, which will likely be the first of its kind to be observed and which will give us much to study in order to understand it and in our understanding “to include early history and evolution.” toward the puberty of the universe,” he added.

For the founder of the CAB, this discovery is “a triumph for a new generation of scientists of the cosmos, which can now carry out and lead great scientific research at an international level from Spain.”

They took part in this research project 33 researchers from 29 institutions from 8 countriesIn addition to the CAB, the affiliated Spanish institutions also include the Complutense Universities of Madrid, La Laguna, Valladolid and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.

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