How the first stars have been formed?

New clues have been discovered by an international team of researchers, a research director at CNRS. In observing one of the most distant galaxies known to date, they have managed to find a huge number of stars at its heart. A figure so huge that approach, according to scientists, the limits of physical laws.

The galaxy observed by scientists, J1148 5251, is one of active galaxies farthest from Earth, located 12.8 billion light-years from our planet. The images reflect his condition is 12.8 billion years, less than a billion years after the Big Bang.

To map a source at such a distance, the telescope must be used to distinguish a euro coin to 18 km, which is the case of the interferometer of the Plateau de Bure of the Institute of Millimeter Radio Astronomy (IRAM ). With it, astronomers have detected in this quasar ray emitted by the carbon atom in its ionized state. Thus, astronomers have identified a huge star-forming activity in the heart of this galaxy, so high that nearly the limits of the laws of physics.

Stars form when a cloud of interstellar gas and dust collapses under its own gravity, becoming progressively warmer. The radiation that emerges from this process disperses the clouds of gas and dust and prevents them from collapsing again. Thus, the process of star formation is stopped. So there is a limit to the number of stars emerging over time and region of star formation.

"This limit is reached in J1148 5251", says Fabian Walter, a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy Max-Planck Heidelberg (Germany). "In our Galaxy, such extreme conditions, comparable to those of J1148 5251, are found only in small regions, as in some parts of the Orion nebula. But what we have observed is the formation of three suns by day, a formation rate hundred million times that of Orion! " enthusiasm it in a statement.

"The result marks a milestone in the study of the first galaxies formed in the Universe," says Peter Cox, director of Iram and member of the international team responsible for this discovery. "It has been possible thanks to recent developments introduced in the interferometer of the Plateau de Bure. It provides further comments on objects of the universe to better understand how galaxies were formed, of describe their apparently extreme star formation and the relationship between star formation and the central massive black hole. "

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