Early-Stage Galaxy Spotted By Astronomers With A New Lens Technique

A large cluster of galaxies was the perfect magnifying lens for the astronomers. With this new technique, scientists spotted an early-stage galaxy, a tiny dwarf galaxy in the first phases of its formation. With this method, astronomers managed to “see” 9.5 billion years into the past.

Until now, galaxy clusters helped astronomers zoom-in to objects at optical wavelengths. Now, it was the first time when scientists used a massive cluster of galaxies to magnify such a distant dwarf galaxy. The recently spotted tiny dwarf galaxy is about 1/10,000 the size of the Milky Way. It is in the first stages of its formation, sporting young stars.

“It’s this little blue smudge, meaning it’s a tiny galaxy that contains a lot of super-hot, very massive young stars that formed recently,” explained Matthew Bayliss from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

Astronomers Employed A New Lens Technique To Spot A Distant, Early-Stage Galaxy

“This galaxy is similar to the very first galaxies that formed in the universe. The kind of which no one has ever seen in X-ray in the distant universe before. With this technique, we could, in the future, zoom in on a distant galaxy and age-date different parts of it — to say, this part has stars that formed 200 million years ago, versus another part that formed 50 million years ago, and pick them apart in a way you cannot otherwise do,” added Bayliss.

The newly found early-stage galaxy is proof that a massive cluster of galaxies is useful for magnifying powerful X-ray-emitting phenomena for the scientists to explore the early phases of the Universe.

By studying this dwarf early-stage galaxy, which presents similar formation phases as any other galaxy in the Universe, scientists will be able to learn more about the early history of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, too.