‘Galaxy Garden’ opens the door to explore the early universe
Chinese astronomers recently discovered a record number of small galaxies outside the Milky Way, where stars are forming at a rapid rate.
With the help of the Large Sky Multi-Object Optical Fiber Spectrometer Telescope (LAMOST), a team of researchers under the direction of the National Astronomical Observatory of the Academy Science China has discovered 1,417 new small galaxies, almost double the number of known galaxies.
Lead researcher Luo Ali said that the previous record for the number of small galaxies discovered was 800.
In addition to the numbers, this study has also attracted media attention because the discovered galaxies are named after vegetables, mainly based on their color and shape.
Team leader Luo Ali said there are 739 galaxies named Green Pea, 270 Blueberry galaxies and 388 Purple Grape galaxies.
Some 1.5 billion to 5 billion light-years away, the Green Pea galaxies are less than one-tenth the size and less than one-hundredth of the Milky Way’s mass, but have a very high rate of star formation, about 10 times that of the Milky Way.
Liu Siqi, a member of the research team, said such impressive star formation rates are common in the early universe but are rare today.
This member thinks that studying the Green Pea galaxy will provide a new perspective to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.
The Blueberry galaxy is closest to Earth and smaller than the Green Pea galaxy, while the Purple Grape galaxy is located somewhere in between two other galaxies or further away, the Green Pea galaxy.
Some Chinese media outlets called the discovery a galactic “vegetable garden”.
The study was published in the journal The Astrophysical.
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