Newly Discovered “Unevolved Galaxies” Reveal Clues to Early Universe

ESO-546-g34 An international team of astronomers led by Niels Bohr Institute has discovered some of the ‘lowest surface brightness’ unevolved galaxies in the universe that have been found to have lower amounts of heavier elements compared to other known galaxies of the same type. The image left is of a dim, dwarf galaxy, ESO 546-G34. It has ten blue globs, five on each side of the galaxy’s center, embedded in a thin cloud, with very little oxygen and nitrogen and few stars. ESO 546-G34 went basically unnoticed for the past 20 years until new observation methods revealed how special it is.

“The galaxy gives us an idea of how the galaxies must have looked before star formation really got going”, said Lars Mattsson, an astrophysicist at the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. “ESO 546-G34 is a left over dwarf galaxy that doesn’t seem to have collided with other galaxies. This gives us unique insight into how the earliest galaxies in the universe may have looked”, Mattsson added.

Astronomer also observed a type of galaxy with bursts of star formation and is called blue compact galaxy, as newly formed stars emit a bluish light.

“Our analysis shows that while a large, mature galaxy like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is comprised of around 15-20 percent gas, this faint little galaxy is comprised of up to 50 percent gas and is very poor in heavier elements. This means that it is very unevolved”, Mattsson explained.

The Daily Galaxy via the Royal Astronomical Society.


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