Astronomers have found a "Milky Way look-alike" galaxy in deep space, 12 billion light-years from our own, according to a new study.
The research, published in Nature, details the discovery of galaxy SPT0418-47, which not only has surprised the researchers but looks similar to other nearby galaxies, throwing a wrench into what experts previously knew about galaxy formation.
“This result represents a breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation, showing that the structures that we observe in nearby spiral galaxies and in our Milky Way were already in place 12 billion years ago,” said the study's lead author, Francesca Rizzo, a doctoral student from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, in a statement.
Astronomers using ALMA, in which the ESO is a partner, have revealed an extremely distant galaxy that looks surprisingly like our Milky Way.
The galaxy, SPT0418-47, is gravitationally lensed by a nearby galaxy, appearing in the sky as a near-perfect ring of light.
“What we found was quite puzzling; despite forming stars at a high rate, and therefore being the site of highly energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the most well-ordered galaxy disc ever observed in the early Universe,” Vegetti added.
Though SPT0418-47 has some similar features to other spiral galaxies, it's expected it will evolve into an elliptical galaxy, the researchers added
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