False color composite image of BX442 (Image: Joe Bergen/Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophisics)
Galaxy BX442 and its companion dwarf galaxy, on the top-right side (Image: Joe Bergen/Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophisics)
When astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to scout a remote patch of the sky and investigate the early stages of galaxy formation, they stumbled upon something which they did not expect. They realized that the distant spiral galaxy BX422, appearing to us as it was only three billion years after the Big Bang, seems to be uncharacteristically well-formed for its young age. By studying its features, which are in direct contrast with our current knowledge of galaxy formation, scientists hope to shed more light on how spiral galaxies – including our own – are formed.
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