Astronomers have now discovered the most distant galaxy that produces about 800 stars every year. The galaxy EGS8p7, is believed to be 13.2 billion years old, indicating that it was formed shortly after the Big Bang when the universe was “a soup of charged particles.”
In comparison to this galaxy, the Milky Way produces about one or two stars annually. The galaxy was spotted in the center of SpARCS1049+56, a cluster of 27 galaxies, located about 9.8 billion light-years away. Scientists believe that a smaller galaxy could have merged with the galaxy in the middle of the cluster, and could have lent its gas in the larger galaxy, helping in the mass production of new stars.
“Usually, stars at the centers of galaxy clusters are old and dead, essentially fossils,” said Tracy Webb, a physics professor at the University of McGill, Montreal and the lead author.
According to California Institute of Technology, in the early universe, “clouds of neutral hydrogen atoms would have absorbed certain radiation emitted by young, newly formed galaxies.” This would also include Lymanalpha line, the spectral signature of hot hydrogen gas, which a sign of new star formation.
Scientists believe that it was not until around 380,000 years before the light was able to transverse the cosmos, and between one half billion and one billion years before the first galaxies “turned on” and re-ionized neutral gases, but EGS8p7 could change this theory.
Adi Zitrin, a NASA Hubble postdoctoral scholar in astronomy at Caltech said this discovery might cause scientists to “revise the timeline” for galaxy formation in the early universe. According to Zitrin, EGS8p7 may show it did not happen uniformly around the universe.
Sirio Belli, a Caltech graduate student who worked on the project, said the galaxy may be powered by a population of unusually hot stars, and it may have special properties that enabled it to create a large bubble of ionized hydrogen much earlier than is possible for more typical galaxies at these times.
The study has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.[ Source ]