Rare ‘Cosmic Ring of Fire’ Discovered at 11 Billion Light Years from Earth

In the early stages of the universe, two galaxies collided violently that would create a massive ring galaxy or gargantuan galaxy. Recently, scientists have discovered a gargantuan galaxy lurking about 11 billion years from Earth. It produces so many stars that scientists have named it a “cosmic ring of fire.”

Rare Galaxy Found with a Unique Galactic Structure

cosmic ring of fire discovered
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Image Credit: YouTube / Science in Public

The astronomers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to capture images of the rare galaxy. They also used spectroscopic data gathered by the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii to discover that the galactic structure of the newly discovered galaxy is unique compared to the existing theories on the formation and evolution of the galactic structures.

This new study of the galactic structure is published in the Nature Astronomy journal according to which the new galaxy was one of the largest gargantuan galaxies with the clearest structure discovered ever.

The lead researcher stated that out of approximately 4,000 galaxies studied, the new galaxy was a very curious object that they had never seen before. It looked both strange and familiar to them with a shape like a ‘titanic donut’ since it was round with a massive hole in the center.

The scientists have named the new galaxy as R5519. The central hole of the galaxy measured 2 billion times longer in diameter than the distance between the Sun and the Earth. It’s similar to the Milky Way in mass but it’s quite more active as it produces stars at 50 times greater rate.

Since most of the star producing activity is taking place on the ring of the galaxy, so they called it a ‘cosmic ring of fire’.

The scientists have already studied the existence of ‘collisional ring galaxies’, but R5519 is the first one ever discovered in the early universe. According to them, such galaxies are formed when two or more galaxies violently smash into each other.

Previously, the scientists used to believe that such collisions were more common in the more crowded early universe but according to the latest study, such galaxies were just as rare then as they are now.

The researchers further stated that the collisional ring galaxies are 1,000 times rarer than the conventional ring galaxies, which form because of internal processes. The images of R5519 stemmed from about 10.8 billion years ago. This means that such galaxies have been uncommon since the Big Bang or just three billion years prior.

Conclusion:

The discovery of R5519 could unleash the truth about the formation of spiral galaxies like our Milky Way. A “thin disk” of cosmic material should be present in the “victim” galaxy before a collision occurs between them. Thus, a cosmic disk is considered as the defining component of spiral galaxies.

The thin disk of our Milky Way only started to form about 9 billion years ago, however, the discovery of R5519 reveals that the disks in spiral galaxies formed over a long time period.

The discovery of the new spiral galaxy is an indication that the disk assembly in spiral galaxies occurred over a more extended period than previously measured.

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