Washington: Astronomers have discovered a galaxy hat gives birth annually to 500 times the number of suns as the Milky Way galaxy.
The study led by Cornell University found that AzTEC-3 - t galaxy observed to be emerging from the Big Bang's primordial soup, creates about 1,100 suns a year, corresponding to about three suns each day.
Lead author Dominik Riechers, Cornell assistant professor of astronomy said that the team has also found, for the first time, star-forming gas in three additional, extremely distant members of an emerging galactic protocluster, which is associated with AzTEC-3.
The researchers said that the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile data reveal that AzTEC-3 is a very compact, highly disturbed galaxy that is bursting with new stars at close to its theoretically predicted maximum limit and is surrounded by a population of more normal, but also actively star-forming galaxies.
This particular grouping of galaxies represents an important milestone in the evolution of our universe - the formation of a galaxy cluster and the early assemblage of large, mature galaxies.
Riechers said that galaxies with this quick rate of star production have been known to exist in the middle-aged universe, say 3 billion to 6 billion years old, but this production is surprising for galaxies in their cosmic infancy and they expect this out of later galaxies in a more mature universe, but not from one of the earliest.
The astronomers believe that AzTEC-3 and the other nearby galaxies appear to be part of the same system, but are not yet gravitationally bound into a clearly defined cluster. This is why the astronomers refer to them collectively as a protocluster and scientists believe that AzTEC-3 is currently undergoing an extreme, but short-lived event. This is perhaps the most violent phase in its evolution, leading to a star formation activity level that is very rare at its cosmic epoch.