Galaxies Settled 2B Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

The way that galaxies form and evolve is still debatable. Now, a group of scientists along with hundreds of thousands of volunteers have discovered that galaxies settled into their current forms about two billion years than the scientific community previously believed. Led by Dr. Brooke Simmons of the University of Oxford, researchers used collective efforts of those that volunteered for the Galaxy Zoo Project.

Distant galaxies appear as they were 10 billion years ago

To help find out how galaxies form and evolve, volunteers classified shapes of more than 10,000 galaxies observed by the Hubble telescope. Almost all of them were very distant objects. So, they appear as they were about 10 billion years ago. At the time, the universe was just 3 billion years old, a little less than a quarter of its current age.

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The galaxies classified by volunteers look much like those in the present universe. Brooke Simmons said in a statement that she and her colleagues were not expecting to see any of the barred features present in evolved, nearby galaxies. They believed young galaxies might have been “too agitated” to form such features like bars, disks or spiral arms. But the study revealed that they probably settled about two billion years earlier than expected.

How the universe evolved

Findings of the study appeared in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Society of London. The study reveals a bit more about how galaxies formed in the early universe. It also sheds light on how the universe developed over time. Astronomers from around the world are still trying to understand how the universe evolved from its early history to the present day.

In another development, NASA scientists have discovered an eerie ghost light coming from stars that died about four billion years ago. These stars were torn apart by gravity within Pandora’s Cluster, which is a gathering of more than 500 galaxies. The ghost light was discovered with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope.