Giant ‘star-factory’ at the beginning of the universe could upend what we know about how galaxies were formed


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Arp 220 appears to be a single, odd-looking galaxy, but is in fact a nearby example of the aftermath of a collision between two spiral galaxies (image: artist's impression, courtesy national post)

Arp 220 appears to be a single, odd-looking galaxy, but is in fact a nearby example of the aftermath of a collision between two spiral galaxies (image: artist’s impression, courtesy national post)

Originally posted on National Post | News:

NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and researchers at Caltech have found what they believe to be a massive “star factory,” an early galaxy that produced stars when the rest of the galaxies in the universe were still just clouds of dust.

“The first galaxies were small, then eventually merged together to form the behemoths we see in the present universe,” writes NASA’s Whitney Clavin in a post about the discovery. “Those smaller galaxies produced stars at a modest rate, and only later  — when the universe was a couple of billion years old — did the vast majority of larger galaxies begin to form and accumulate enough gas and dust to become prolific star factories. Indeed, astronomers have observed that these star factories, called starburst galaxies, became prevalent a couple of billion years after the big bang.”

This discovery is upending what scientists thought they knew about the early universe.

“This…

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