Website URL:
   Phys.org 
   (BUTTON) Topics
     * Week's top
     * Latest news
     * Unread news
     * Subscribe

   

Science X Account

     * Nanotechnology
     * Physics
     * Earth
     * Astronomy & Space
     * Technology
     * Chemistry
     * Biology
     * Other Sciences

     * (BUTTON)
     * share this!
     * 17.2K
       
     * 81
       
     * Share
       
     * Email
       

    1. Home 
    2. Astronomy & Space 
    3. Astronomy 

     * 
     * 
     * 
     _____________________________________________

   

   May 20, 2020

ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe

   by National Radio Astronomy Observatory
   ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe Artist impression of the Wolfe Disk, a massive rotating disk galaxy in the early, dusty universe. The galaxy was initially discovered when ALMA examined the light from a more distant quasar (top left). Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

   In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, challenges the traditional models of galaxy formation. This research appears on 20 May 2020 in the journal Nature.

   Galaxy DLA0817g, nicknamed the Wolfe Disk after the late astronomer Arthur M. Wolfe, is the most distant rotating disk galaxy ever observed. The unparalleled power of ALMA made it possible to see this galaxy spinning at 170 miles (272 kilometers) per second, similar to our Milky Way.

   "While previous studies hinted at the existence of these early rotating gas-rich disk galaxies, thanks to ALMA we now have unambiguous evidence that they occur as early as 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang," said lead author Marcel Neeleman of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

   How did the Wolfe Disk form?

   The discovery of the Wolfe Disk provides a challenge for many galaxy formation simulations, which predict that massive galaxies at this point in the evolution of the cosmos grew through many mergers of smaller galaxies and hot clumps of gas.

   "Most galaxies that we find early in the universe look like train wrecks because they underwent consistent and often 'violent' merging," explained Neeleman. "These hot mergers make it difficult to form well-ordered, cold rotating disks like we observe in our present universe."
   ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe ALMA radio image of the Wolfe Disk, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

   In most galaxy formation scenarios, galaxies only start to show a well-formed disk around 6 billion years after the Big Bang. The fact that the astronomers found such a disk galaxy when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, indicates that other growth processes must have dominated.

   "We think the Wolfe Disk has grown primarily through the steady accretion of cold gas," said J. Xavier Prochaska, of the University of California, Santa Cruz and coauthor of the paper. "Still, one of the questions that remains is how to assemble such a large gas mass while maintaining a relatively stable, rotating disk."

   Star formation

   The team also used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to learn more about star formation in the Wolfe Disk. In radio wavelengths, ALMA looked at the galaxy's movements and mass of atomic gas and dust while the VLA measured the amount of molecular mass—the fuel for star formation. In UV-light, Hubble observed massive stars. "The star formation rate in the Wolfe Disk is at least ten times higher than in our own galaxy," explained Prochaska. "It must be one of the most productive disk galaxies in the early universe."
   ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe The Wolfe Disk as seen with ALMA (right - in red), VLA (left - in green) and the Hubble Space Telescope (both images - blue). In radio light, ALMA looked at the galaxy’s movements and mass of atomic gas and dust and the VLA measured the amount of molecular mass. In UV-light, Hubble observed massive stars. The VLA image is made in a lower spatial resolution than the ALMA image, and therefore looks larger and more pixelated. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble

   A 'normal' galaxy
   [INS: :INS]

   The Wolfe Disk was first discovered by ALMA in 2017. Neeleman and his team found the galaxy when they examined the light from a more distant quasar. The light from the quasar was absorbed as it passed through a massive reservoir of hydrogen gas surrounding the galaxy—which is how it revealed itself. Rather than looking for direct light from extremely bright, but more rare galaxies, astronomers used this 'absorption' method to find fainter, and more 'normal' galaxies in the early universe.

   "The fact that we found the Wolfe Disk using this method, tells us that it belongs to the normal population of galaxies present at early times," said Neeleman. "When our newest observations with ALMA surprisingly showed that it is rotating, we realized that early rotating disk galaxies are not as rare as we thought and that there should be a lot more of them out there."

   "This observation epitomizes how our understanding of the universe is enhanced with the advanced sensitivity that ALMA brings to radio astronomy," said Joe Pesce, astronomy program director at the National Science Foundation, which funds the telescope. "ALMA allows us to make new, unexpected findings with almost every observation."
     _____________________________________________

   Explore further
   Astronomers observe early stages of Milky Way-like galaxies in distant universe
     _____________________________________________

   More information: A cold, massive, rotating disk galaxy 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2276-y , www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2276-y
   Journal information: Nature 
   Provided by National Radio Astronomy Observatory 
   Citation: ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe (2020, May 20) retrieved 28 May 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-05-alma-massive-rotating-disk-early.html
   This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
   17244 shares 
     * Facebook
       
     * Twitter
       
     * Email
       

   

   Feedback to editors
   
     * Featured
     * Last Comments
     * Popular

Evidence of large groups responding more slowly to crises due to false information

   13 hours ago

   2

Experiments with macaques show lower stress levels when working with a friend toward a goal

   13 hours ago

   0

A new scheme for satellite-based quantum-secure time transfer

   15 hours ago

   0

Electron microscopy of nanoparticle superlattice formation at a solid-liquid interface in non-polar liquids

   May 26, 2020

   0

Termite fishing techniques in wild chimpanzees show some elements of cultural diversity

   May 26, 2020

   0
     _____________________________________________

   

Historic SpaceX launch postponed because of stormy weather

   8 hours ago
    

Caveolin binding motif in Na/K-ATPase is required for stem cell differentiation, organogenesis in animals

   9 hours ago
    

These tiny, self-assembling traps capture PFAS

   10 hours ago
    

A potential explanation for urban smog: Aerosol particle growth higher in cold climates

   11 hours ago
    

Artificial intelligence reveals mechanism for kin selection in a wild primate

   11 hours ago
    

Initial Upper Paleolithic technology reached North China by around 41,000 years ago

   11 hours ago
    

In stressed ecosystems Jurassic dinosaurs turned to scavenging, maybe even cannibalism

   11 hours ago
    

Exploring the use of 'stretchable' words in social media

   11 hours ago
    

New clues to deep earthquake mystery

   11 hours ago
    

Study shows erosion of ozone layer responsible for mass extinction event

   11 hours ago
   
     _____________________________________________

Relevant PhysicsForums posts

An objective Bayesian analysis of life’s early start & late arrival

   May 26, 2020

Persistent features of astronomical bodies

   May 26, 2020

A cold, massive, rotating disk galaxy 1.5 billion years after the BB

   May 21, 2020

Adding more meteorites to my collection

   May 21, 2020

Our Beautiful Universe - Photos and Videos

   May 21, 2020

Power output of red dwarfs turning yellow and blue?

   May 20, 2020

   More from Astronomy and Astrophysics
     _____________________________________________

     *

Related Stories
       

Astronomers observe early stages of Milky Way-like galaxies in distant universe
       Mar 23, 2017
        

Going against the flow around a supermassive black hole
       Oct 15, 2019
        

ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight
       Dec 11, 2019
       
       

ALMA finds earliest example of merging galaxies
       Jun 18, 2019
        

Explosive birth of stars swells galactic cores
       Sep 10, 2017
        

Hubble views a young elliptical galaxy
       Nov 23, 2015
       
     *

Recommended for you
       

Cosmic bursts unveil universe's missing matter
       14 hours ago
        

Under pressure, black holes feast
       12 hours ago
        

MAVEN maps electric currents around mars that are fundamental to atmospheric loss
       May 26, 2020
       
       

Astrophysicists capture new class of transient objects
       May 26, 2020
        

The 'Cow' mystery strikes back: Two more rare, explosive events captured
       May 26, 2020
        

Astronomers create cloud atlas for hot, Jupiter-like exoplanets
       May 26, 2020
       

User comments

What do you think about this particular story?

   Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors.
   (BUTTON)

E-mail the story

ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe

   (BUTTON)

   (BUTTON)

   (BUTTON)

   Medical Xpress

Medical Xpress

   Medical Xpress covers all medical research advances and health news
   
   Tech Xplore

Tech Xplore

   Tech Xplore covers the latest engineering, electronics and technology advances
   
   ScienceX

ScienceX

   Science X Network offers the most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web
   

Newsletters

Follow us

     * 
     * 
     * 
     * 

     * Top
     * Home
     * Search
     * Mobile version

     * Help
     * FAQ
     * About
     * Contact

     * Science X Account
     * Sponsored Account
     * Archive
     * News wire

     * Android app
     * iOS app
     * RSS feeds
     * Push notification

   © Phys.org 2003 - 2020 powered by Science X Network
   Privacy policy Terms of use

Your Privacy

   This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
   Ok More Information

   (BUTTON)

E-mail newsletter

Follow us

     * 
     * 
     * 
     * 

   It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences?  (BUTTON) ×

   Quantcast