Oldest spiral galaxy in the universe captured in fuzzy photo


Oct 22, 2019
"Researchers discovered the ancient galaxy after finding a photo of it in the ALMA archive. To the untrained eye the image may look blurry, but it actually contains a surprising amount of detail for such a distant galaxy."

The ability to clearly see and define structure in these remote objects is critical. Here is the paper, Spiral morphology in an intensely star-forming disk galaxy more than 12 billion years ago, https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2021/05/19/science.abe9680, 20-May-2021. "Abstract Spiral galaxies have distinct internal structures including a stellar bulge, disk and spiral arms. It is unknown when in cosmic history these structures formed. We analyze observations of BRI 1335–0417, an intensely star-forming galaxy in the distant Universe, at redshift 4.41. The [C II] gas kinematics show a steep velocity rise near the galaxy center and have a two-armed spiral morphology, which extends from about 2 to 5 kiloparsecs in radius. We interpret these features as due to a central compact structure, such as a bulge; a rotating gas disk; and either spiral arms or tidal tails. These features had formed within 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang, long before the peak of cosmic star formation."

My observation. Spiral arm structures are all short lived, different reports indicate 80E+6 years or less, some others 100E+6 years or less. The abstract shows ALMA reporting on structure 2 to 5 kpc radius so < 1" angular size. Distance ~ 3.8E+9 pc. 500 mas (0".5) resolves ~ 3E+4 LY across.

The space.com article said too "Spiral galaxies make up around 72% of the observable galaxies in the universe, according to a 2010 Hubble Space Telescope survey. Understanding more about them and how they form and evolve can help us learn more about our own galaxy, according to the researchers."

That is a bunch of galaxies with spiral arms that are not long lived relative to the BB model age for the universe or many globular cluster ages reported.


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