Invisible massive galaxies producing 1,000 suns a year could rewrite how the universe works

(Representative Image) Observations of the ancient starburst galaxy by an artistNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan
  • 39 massive galaxies have been discovered billions of light years away.
  • These galaxies are producing stars that are equivalent to a 1,000 Suns.
  • The discovery of these ancient galaxies can provide insights into the workings of supermassive black holes, dark matter and the evolution of the universe.
Billions of light years away and invisible to the naked eye, 39 massive galaxies are generating stars that match up to 1,000 of our galaxy's Suns.

If these galaxies were a part of our sky — nights would be a lot brighter and stars far away would be outshined.

The bigger the galaxy, the bigger the supermassive black hole at its heart.

"The study of these galaxies and their evolution will tell us more about the evolution of supermassive black holes, too," explained Kotaro Kohno, one of the authors of the study published in Nature.

Ancient galaxies from the study are visible to ALMA (right) but not to Hubble (left)Tokyo University

Cloak of invisibility

These huge and massive galaxies can't be seen through the Hubble Telescope because the light from them in faint, and spread out over long distances.

The further the universe expands, the more it stretches the light passing through it. Eventually, the light becomes so stretched out that it becomes infrared.

Galaxies are also shrouded in dust, which obscures them from view even further. The larger the galaxy, the more dust there is.

The good thing is that the amount of stretching helps scientists, like the ones who made this discovery, figure out how long ago the light in question for emitted — and these particular galaxies are 'ancient'.

Scientists from the University of Tokyo combined the power of multiple astronomical observatories from around the world — like NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array ( ALMA) in Chile — to prove their existence.

A few of the 66 radio telescope antennas that make up ALMAUniversity of Tokyo

"Massive galaxies are also intimately connected with the distribution of invisible dark matter. This plays a role in shaping the structure and distribution of galaxies. Theoretical researchers will need to update their theories now," stated Kohno explaining what the discovery of these galaxies implies for the scientific community.

See also:
Hubble has found a black hole disk that should be non-existent

'Zombie' stars are coming back to life and scientists are on the hunt for more

A black hole bigger than the sun is pulling on the fabric of space and time
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