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ALMA finds previously unseen ancestors of elliptical galaxies

7 Aug 2019, 18:47 UTC
ALMA finds previously unseen ancestors of elliptical galaxies
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An artist’s impression of remote galaxies seen by ALMA that are not visible to the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers suspect the previously unknown galaxies are ancestors of the massive elliptical galaxies visible in the more recent universe. Image: NAOJ
Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) identified 39 faint galaxies that are not seen with the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest view of the universe 10 billion light-years away. They are 10 times more numerous than similarly massive but optically bright galaxies detected with Hubble.
The research team assumes that these faint galaxies are the ancestors of massive elliptical galaxies in the present universe, however interestingly, no major theories for the evolution of the universe have predicted such a rich population of star-forming, dark, massive galaxies. The new ALMA results throw into question our understanding of the early universe. These results are published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.
“Previous studies have found extremely active star-forming galaxies in the early universe, but their population is quite limited,” says Tao Wang, the lead author of the paper and a researcher at the University of Tokyo, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and the National Astronomical Observatory of ...

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