Pune astronomers part of Milky Way-like galaxy discovery team

"Since last three decades, until this discovery, we were under the impression that there could be small galaxies,” Nissim Kanekar NCRA Researcher.

Written by ANJALI MARAR | Pune | Updated: March 28, 2017 8:56:08 am

Astronomers have discovered a galaxy similar to Milky Way in composition, but weighs nearly 100 times more. This galaxy has been found to be filled with massive amounts of gaseous matter, which scientists claim, is in the nascent stage of star formation.  A latest research, published in March 23 edition of Science, had made the observation. The research team included astronomers from TIFR — National Centre for Radio Astronomy (NCRA), Pune, University of California, Space Telescope Science Institute and University of Cambridge.

So far, astronomers could never identify or characterise galaxies on the basis of gaseous absorptions, as they gave away little information due to their faintness. However, for the first time, this team stumbled upon detections in the form of dust emissions from two galaxies in the far end of the universe.

The discovery was made using data gathered by Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) , a telescope that came up in Chile about three years ago. ALMA is a radio interferometer, like NCRA-run Giant Meterewave Telescope (GMRT) in Junnar, is capable of imaging the universe.

“Since last three decades, until this discovery, we were under the impression that there could be small galaxies. However, they are definitely larger than the Milky Way, also possibly indicating that they could have more star forming capacity,” Nissim Kanekar, researcher from NCRA told The Indian Express over the phone.

The research states high-metalicity absorptions to have physical properties those like a massive star-forming capacity, like our Milky Way. “It also indicates that our galaxy too would have looked similar in its initial years of formation,” revealed the research paper.

AMLA-aided researchers in getting ultraviolet radiations, which when hit the dust, gave away unknown information about the galaxy, which is very young in the time scale, added Kanekar.

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