Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have found a look-alike of the Milky Way 12 billion light-years away with the help of the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA).
“The galaxy is so far away its light has taken more than 12 billion years to reach us,” the institute said in an official press release.
This makes it an even more fascinating discovery as according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) our universe is around 13 billion years, give or take a few billion.
“This result represents a breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation, showing that the structures that we observe in nearby spiral galaxies and in our Milky Way were already in place 12 billion years ago,” says Francesca Rizzo, PhD student from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Nature.
The galaxy, called SPT0418-47, does not appear to have spiral arms lie our Milky Way but has at least two features that are similar to our galaxy: a rotating disc and a bulge.
This is the first time a bulge has been seen this early in the history of the Universe, making SPT0418-47 the most distant Milky Way look-alike, researchers said.
“The big surprise was to find that this galaxy is actually quite similar to nearby galaxies, contrary to all expectations from the models and previous, less detailed, observations,” said co-author Filippo Fraternali, from the Kapteyn Astr