ALMA Has Spotted the Light of a Massive Galaxy Seen Only After 970 Million Years

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array have noticed the light of a large galaxy seen solely 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, referred to as MAMBO-9, is probably the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

Dusty star-forming galaxies are essentially the most intense stellar nurseries within the universe. They type stars at a price up to some thousand occasions the mass of the Sun per year (the star-forming charge of our Milky Way is simply three solar lots per year), and so they comprise huge quantities of gas and dust. Such monster galaxies should not be anticipated to have formed early within the history of the universe; however, astronomers had already found a number of them as seen when the cosmos was less than a billion years outdated. Certainly, one of them is galaxy SPT0311-58, which ALMA noticed in 2018.

MAMBO-9’s light was already detected ten years in the past by co-writer Manuel Aravena, utilizing the Max-Planck Millimeter BOlometer instrument on the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Spain and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in France. However, these observations weren’t sensitive enough to disclose the distance of the galaxy.

The light from MAMBO-9 traveled about 13 billion years to reach ALMA’s antennas (the universe is roughly 13.8 billion years outdated today). That implies that we are able to see what the galaxy appeared like previously (Watch this video to find out how ALMA works as a time-machine). Today, the galaxy would most likely be even larger, containing one hundred occasions extra stars than the Milky Way, residing in a large galaxy cluster.