Astronomers say they have captured the most detailed view of a “monster galaxy” generating stars at a pace 1,000 times faster than the Milky Way.
The galaxies, also known as starburst galaxies, are believed to be ancestors of today’s elliptical galaxies, and could help astronomers understand how they formed.
Researchers with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan found the galaxy called COSMOS-AzTEC-1, which sits 12.4 billion light years away, contains unstable molecular clouds generating stars more rapidly.
“We found that there are two distinct large clouds several thousand light-years away from the center,” said lead author Ken-ichi Tadaki, a postdoctoral researcher at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “In most distant starburst galaxies, stars are actively formed in the center. So it is surprising to find off-center clouds.”
The team used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to put together a map showing how the gas in the galaxy moves.
Researchers estimate the gas from the galaxy will be consumed in 100 million years, 10 times faster than other star-forming galaxies.
The study was published in the journal Nature.
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