Scientist have taken several pictures pictures of baby galaxy clusters. The astronomers surprised the moments when the galaxies are just around two billion years old, which is still very young taking into account that the universe is 13.8 billion years old.
It is the biggest discovery of its kind. More than 200 likely baby clusters were found, and scientists say that they will provide essential clues to dark matter and how galaxies are formed and their evolution over time.
Clusters like these are very hard to find because they fill just a tiny portion of the enormous expanse of space. “These are what are usually called one-percent regions, which are the most concentrated regions in our entire universe,” explained David Koo, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Astronomers’ efforts to find baby clusters were hindered by this issue. Now, with the help of the highly advanced Planck satellite, which has a complete coverage of the entire sky, scientists have discovered the 200 galaxy clusters at the edge of the observable universe. In that part of the cosmos, the universe was just three billion years old
“We think this is a missing piece of cosmological structure formation. Finding so many intensely star-forming, dust galaxies in such concentrated groups was a huge surprise,” said Hervé Dole, lead author of the report from the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in France.
Baby clusters and galaxy clusters are also the cosmic nerve centers of dark matter which acts as gravitational cement holding all the galaxies together. Brenda Frye, an astronomer at the University of Arizona who also participated in the research said that the new pictures could prove to be one of the best ways of discovering what dark matter really is.
According to Frye, galaxies are not moving without any rules. “They don’t have free will,” she mentioned, adding that all galaxies seem to be responding to a gravitational potential. This means that if astronomers could determine how galaxies move, they could find out how much of an influence dark matter have on the processes. The scientists could then measure its properties and find out what role it has in the life of young galaxies.
Astronomers are still trying to determine if all of the newly discovered clusters are really what they seem to be, and not a mix of distant and nearby galaxies which were in the same field as the confirmed baby clusters.
Image Source: NASA