First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

July 20, 2012 - Astronomers have spotted the earliest known spiral galaxy, dating to just three billion years after the Big Bang.

Theories of galaxy formation held that the Universe was still too chaotic a place to allow such a perfectly formed or "grand-design" spiral to form.

It should take far longer for gravity to bring matter into thin, neat discs.

But a team reporting in Nature says the galaxy BX442 got the gravitational "kick" it needed to form a spiral from a smaller "dwarf galaxy" orbiting it.

They first spotted BX442 as the one and only spiral-looking object in a survey of 300 galaxies carried out by the Hubble space telescope, when they were shocked to see what looked to be a spiral galaxy.




( via bbc.co.uk )



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