Found the oldest "dead" galaxy to date Found the oldest "dead" galaxy to date

Found the oldest "dead" galaxy to date

Found the oldest "dead" galaxy to date

The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered a "dead" galaxy older than any found so far, 13 billion years old.
Scientists say that star formation in the galaxy stopped about 13.1 billion years ago, that is, only 700 million years after the beginning of the universe.

While scientists have discovered similar "dead" galaxies before, they are 500 million years older.

Astronomers at the University of Cambridge point out that the galaxy lived quickly and died young. Such behavior was not expected until the discovery of the new galaxy.

“The galaxy appears to have lived rapidly and intensely, and then stopped forming stars very quickly,” explained astrophysicist Tobias Loeser of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, lead author of the study. “In the first hundreds of millions of years of its history, the universe was violent and active. "With so much gas to fuel the star formation process in galaxies, this makes this discovery particularly puzzling and interesting."

The team says the galaxy is relatively small, perhaps containing 100 million to a billion stars. This would place it in the vicinity of the Small Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxy cluster located near our Milky Way, although the Small Magellanic Cloud is still forming new stars.

After the galaxy stops forming new stars, it becomes like a star graveyard.

Astronomers used the Webb Telescope to peer into the depths of the universe, capturing glimpses of this galaxy that stopped forming stars more than 13 billion years ago.

This mysterious galaxy went from active star formation to inactive much faster than expected.

James Webb's data indicate that this newly identified galaxy lived rapidly, meaning it experienced a short and rapid burst of star formation between 30 and 90 million years ago.

However, between 10 and 20 million years before James Webb observed it, star formation in the galaxy suddenly stopped.

The team states that such a level of star formation activity is not expected during the early years of the young universe.

After this many years, galaxies are normally expected to gradually reduce their star formation activity. But the newly discovered galaxy stopped forming stars surprisingly early, making it a rare discovery.

The team proposed different explanations for why this galaxy stopped forming new stars.

One possible explanation is the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy. Its massive jets have the ability to expel vital stellar gas from the galaxy, preventing the birth of new stars.

On the other hand, stars may quickly consume galactic gas. In this case, the galaxy may fail to replenish gas quickly, leading to gas depletion.

“We are not sure if any of these scenarios can explain what we have now seen with James Webb,” said Roberto Maiolino, co-author of the study. “Until now, to understand the early universe, we have used models based on the modern universe.”

"But now that we can see further back in time, and note that star formation has been extinguished very quickly in this galaxy, models based on the modern universe may need to be reconsidered," Maiolino added.

The latest results may be important for understanding the evolution of early galaxies and star formation activity in the young Universe. The team also hopes to find an answer to the problem of how the factors governing star formation change over billions of years.


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