In an astonishing discovery, scientists have finally managed to get data about the most ancient spiral galaxy of the universe. They revealed that the spiral galaxy was present around 11 billion years ago and existed just 2.6 billion years after the big bang. At that time the Universe was one-fifth of its present age.
For the study, many researchers including those from Australian National University (ANU) and Swinburne University of Technology used a powerful technique that combines Gravitational lensing with the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and verified the vintage and spiral nature of the galaxy dubbed as A1689B11.
Actually, the gravitational lenses are one of the nature’s largest telescopes and are created by massive clusters comprising of thousands of galaxies and dark matter. This cluster bends and magnifies the light of galaxies behind just like an ordinary lens, but on a much larger scale. Tiantian Yuan from ANU said that this technique allowed them to study ancient galaxies in high resolution with unprecedented detail.
The researchers reported that they detected an integral-field spectroscopic (IFS) observation of a gravitationally lensed spiral galaxy A1689B11 at redshift z=2.54. It is the most ancient spiral galaxy discovered to date and the second kinematically confirmed. The study revealed that the galaxy forms stars 20 times faster than the galaxies today, just like other young galaxies of similar masses. Showing his excitement, Yuan, who led the research, said that they were able to look 11 years back in time and directly witness the formation of the first, primitive spiral arms of a galaxy. Renyue Cen from Princeton University in the US said that studying ancient spirals like A1689B11 is a key to unlocking the mystery of how and when the Hubble sequence emerges.