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Growing up fast in the very early universe

Posted On: 27 Oct 2020   |   Posted By: Astronomy Now

Growing up fast in the very early universe

An artist's impression of a very dusty galaxy in the early universe that already exhibits signs of a rotating disc. Reds represent gast while blues and browns represent dust as seen by the ALMA radio telescope array. Image: B. Saxton NRAO/AUI/NSF, ESO, NASA/STScI; NAOJ/Subaru
One might expect galaxies forming in the very early universe to be relatively free of dust and the heavy elements cooked up when successive generations of massive stars run out of nuclear fuel and explode in supernova blasts. That process takes time, and most infant galaxies could be expected to experience rapid growth spurts in the eventual transition between the “primordial” and “mature” stages in their development.
But in a survey of 118 young galaxies dating back to within 1 billion to 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, astronomers were surprised to find many more mature galaxies than expected.
“We didn't expect to see so much dust and heavy elements in these distant galaxies,” said Andreas Faisst of the Infrared Processing and...

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