Galaxy appears little changed in 10 billion years
Andrew C. Fabian, Remco C. van den Bosch, MPIA/NASA/ESA
A galaxy just over 230 million light-years away in the nearby Perseus cluster looks as if it was snatched from the dawn of time and delivered to our galactic neighborhood, new observations reveal. The galaxy, NGC 1277, formed all its stars in a quick burst roughly 10 billion years ago — less than 4 billion years after the Big Bang. Then it appears to have abruptly switched off.
Observations published in the Jan. 10 Astrophysical Journal Letters show that stars throughout the galaxy are uniformly old and formed in a 100-million-year-long flash that created new suns at a rate of up to 1,000 per year. For comparison, our Milky Way gives birth to only a few suns each year.
“There is nothing in the local universe that is similar,” says coauthor Ignacio Trujillo, a research fellow at Spain’s Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. “We see an extremely different star formation