Researchers accidentally Spot a Dark Primordial Galaxy with No Visible Stars

Astronomers accidentally spot a dark primordial galaxy occupied with primordial gas while conducting a recent observation. What amazed the researchers the most was that the galaxy appeared to have no visible stars. The team behind this discovery named the galaxy J01613+52.

They revealed the galaxy appears to be the faintest galaxy found to date. The most fascinating fact about this discovery is that the team used the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to spot the dark galaxy accidentally. Since the galaxy was discovered out of complete error, astronomers will have to pay closer attention to it and learn more from its strange features.

“The GBT was accidentally pointed to the wrong coordinates and found this object. It’s a galaxy made only out of gas — it has no visible stars,” Green Bank Observatory senior scientist Karen O’Neil said in a statement. “Stars could be there. We just can’t see them.”

The dark primordial galaxy is just about 270 million light-years away from Earth. Hence, astronomers should have discovered it even before now. Maybe its lack of visible stars made it completely challenging to be spotted.

What you know about the recently discovered Dark Primordial galaxy

The dark primordial galaxy was accidentally discovered by scientists as they studied hydrogen gas in several so-called Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxies using numerous powerful radio telescopes across the world.

The Green Bank Telescope (GBT), which is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope located in Green Bank, West Virginia, and the Nançay Radio Telescope at the Paris Observatory were used to make the recent observations. Generally, galaxies that belong to the LSBs category tend to accommodate a small population of stars that spread across their volume.

This makes them emit less light per unit of area than other standard galaxies like our home galaxy Andromeda. Astronomers have discovered that almost every LSB is not even brighter than the background luminosity of the night sky. Their low light makes them quite difficult to spot.

Unlike most galaxies, LSBs tend to evolve more slowly. Astronomer revealed that their low gas density often contributes to their slow growth. The primary goal of the research that discovered J0613+52 was to learn more about the mass and gas content of low-brightness galaxies.

Hence, the discovery of J0613+52 has made the scientists to be excited with the survey. J0613+52 is now classified as another 350 galaxies in the study. However, it has some interesting features that make it unique.

“What we do know is that it’s an incredibly gas-rich galaxy. It’s not demonstrating star formation like we’d expect, probably because its gas is too diffuse,” O’Neil said. “At the same time, it’s too far from other galaxies for them to help trigger star formation through any encounters.”

What the team thinks about the discovery

O’Neil also noted that J0613+52 seems to be both “undisturbed and underdeveloped.” This implies that O’Neil may have likely discovered J0613+52 as the first nearby galaxy that contains primordial gas.

This discovery is now suggesting that gas contains mostly hydrogen and helium which was created shortly after the Big Bang. The researchers reveal that deep imaging in multiple wavelengths of light could show more of these hidden ultra-dark LSBs.

“A full sky survey by an extremely sensitive instrument like the Green Bank Telescope could uncover more of these objects,” concluded O’Neil.

She presented their findings at the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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