The ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) team discovered a new galaxy that looks the same as the Milky Way. The distant newborn supercluster of stars is approximately 12 billion light years away from us, and the image that we see of it is how it initially looked like when the Universe was only just beginning.
It is strangely stable and dormant, which is unlikely of a galaxy to behave when it has only just emerged from existence. A flood of new questions, hypotheses, and possibilities have opened up for astronomers with this discovery.
Studies about galaxy formation are presented with new-found data and this confirms that the celestial bodies we are able to detect within and outside our own galaxy have already been in existence since the birth of the Universe. The SPT0418-47, the initial name for the newborn galaxy, does not exhibit the same spiral arms attribute of our Milky Way. It does, however, possess a constantly-rotating disc and a massive clump of stars in the center of it all. This is the farthest galaxy discovered so far that resembles the Milky Way.
SPT0418-47 exceeded the expectations of most astronomers who have crafted images and models of distant galaxies. They initially thought that because these galaxies have just been born, they would be in chaos and that their structures would not be easily distinguished. They were proven wrong.
Because the view we have on the galaxy dates back to the time when the Universe has only just begun, scientists are able to gather information relevant to that time.
The distance of the celestial body from the Earth makes it difficult for even the most advanced observational instruments that we possess. Acquiring detailed images of these objects is close to impossible. But this challenge was overcome by the research team using a closer galaxy as a vantage point, where ALMA gathers the emitted light that passes by the closer galaxy from the distant galaxy, generating a slightly accurate image - a process known as gravitational lensing. Now the image is somewhat improved and is now appearing as a faint ring of light.
With all the energy given off as stars continue to form, the galaxy should be a region of massive, catastrophic energy. Surprisingly though, the galaxy seems to behave in an orderly fashion. The initial belief that the process of how the Universe came to be was nothing short of a frenzy, is being challenged with these new findings.
It poses the possibility that the birth of many celestial bodies was actually organized bursts of celestial energy instead of a destructive, tumultuous, explosion.
Further observations will be done, involving a lot more high-end equipment like the Extremely Large Telescope by ESO (European Southern Observatory), to monitor the activity of the newborn galaxies and determine whether or not they have always been this way.