We all know that our solar system lies in the Milky Way galaxy, but have you ever wondered how the first galaxy formed in the early universe? Do you know what dark matter and dark energy are, and what branch of science is associated with this research?
If not, you have come to the right place to get all your answers! You will surely get all your doubts cleared regarding the topic, and get a better understanding of the workings of our universe.
1. What is The Study Of The Formation and Evolution Of Universe’s First Galaxies?
The study of the formation and evolution of the universe’s first galaxies is a very amazing field of research which includes an understanding of how dark energy, dark matter and cosmic forces interacted together to form the universe that we can see today. This knowledge can help us understand how galaxies form and interact with each other.
The universe’s new galaxies started to form after the Big Bang which took place 13.8 billion years ago. The new galaxies were probably made of gas and dust which eventually collapsed because of gravity and produced stars and then galaxies.
Astrophysicists use various types of instruments and methods including telescope observations, computer simulations, and theoretical models, to understand the formation and evolution of the first galaxies in the universe. With the help of these methodologies, scientists are better able to understand the phenomena that led to the creation of new galaxies including the function of dark matter and the creation of the first supermassive black holes.
2. What are The Cosmic Forces?
You must have heard in your school that the various physical phenomena that control the working of the things in the universe are called Cosmic Forces. The structure and the evolution of the universe from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest structures depend on these forces.
2.1) Types of Cosmic Forces
There are four main cosmic forces, let’s talk and understand them one by one:
i) Gravity: Gravity is the force that controls how big objects move. It is the force that maintains the stars in their orbits around the centre of their galaxy and planets in their orbits around stars. Large-scale structures in the universe like galaxies and clusters of galaxies are also the result of gravity.
ii) Electromagnetism: It is the force which is responsible for the behaviour of charged particles. It is the force that controls how atoms and molecules behave as well as how light and other electromagnetic waves behave.
iii) Weak Nuclear Force: Neutrons and protons among with the other subatomic particles decay as a result of the Weak Nuclear Force. It is one of the four basic forces of nature and is the cause of the various nuclear physics phenomena.
iv) Strong Nuclear Force: The force that holds an atom’s nuclei together is known as the Strong Nuclear Force. It is the most powerful of the four fundamental forces and is the cause of many nuclear physics happenings including nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.
Understanding the behaviour of cosmic objects from the smallest particles to the largest structures requires an understanding of all four of these cosmic forces. The universe as we know it was the result of their interactions, and they are still shaping its evolution today.
3. What are Black Holes and How Did They Influence Galaxy Formation?
You all must have heard about black holes in brief, that is, they are bodies with a very huge amount of mass so they tend to bend the space-time fabric and have a very large amount of gravitational force which tends to attract everything that crosses them, even light waves.
But do you know how they influenced the formation of the galaxies formed in our universe? If not, let me explain to you in detail how black holes are formed and how they take their part in the formation of galaxies.
Because black holes are believed to be essential to the creation and evolution of galaxies, there is a close connection between black holes and the formation of galaxies.
3.1) What Exactly are Black Holes?
A black hole is an area of space where there is such a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape. Massive stars collide under their gravity to form black holes, which have a singularity at their centre.
A black hole is an area of space where there is such a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape it. Massive stars collide due to their gravity to form black holes which have a singularity at their centre.
Black holes come in a variety of sizes, from stellar-mass black holes, which are created when individual stars collide to create supermassive black holes, which are located at the centres of most galaxies, including the Milky Way and are the largest known black holes.
3.2) Theories For Understanding the Relation Between The Black Hole and The Galaxies Creation
There are a few theories explaining how black holes and galaxy formation are related, but this is still an active area of research.
i) According to one theory, black holes are essential in controlling the expansion of galaxies. A galaxy’s central black hole is created at the same time as its gas and dust are merging to form stars. Large amounts of energy are released as materials enter the black hole in the form of radiation and high-energy particle jets.
By heating up and throwing out the surrounding gas, this energy can effectively stop the galaxy’s star formation process. This procedure is called “feedback”. It helps in preserving the equilibrium between a galaxy’s expansion and the energy released by its central black hole.
ii) According to another theory, black holes may have contributed to the creation of the universe’s galaxies. At the beginning of the universe, hydrogen gas clouds gave rise to the first stars and galaxies. There were no sources of heat like radiation or energy to heat these clouds, so they were able to cool and collapse.
Black holes might have caused this to change. Very large amounts of radiation and energy were released when the first stars formed and died which might have stopped gas clouds from cooling and collapsing. The creation of the first galaxy would have been slowed down or maybe prevented because of this. Black holes may have prevented this from happening by releasing the high energy radiation and jets that heated and expelled gas allowing it to cool and form the new large galaxies.
There is some support for black holes’ involvement in the formation and development of galaxies. One indication that black holes and galaxies evolve together over time is the correlation between the mass of a supermassive black hole and the characteristics of the galaxy in which it is situated, such as its size and star formation speed. Additionally, research into the energy and radiation black holes emit has shed light on how they affect the local gas and control the expansion of large galaxies.
In conclusion, there is a direct connection between black holes and galaxy formation. Black holes are essential for controlling the development of galaxies and may have even played a part in the creation of the universe’s new galaxies. The role of a black hole in the formation and evolution of galaxies is still not known clearly but new information is being gained through ongoing observations and theoretical models.
4. What is a Galaxy?
Now, you know what branch studies this topic of galaxy formation and evolution, but before moving on to the further topic of the formation of the first galaxy of our universe, let’s first understand what exactly a galaxy is.
To be exact, a galaxy is a massive system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust and dark matter which is bounded by gravity. Small galaxies with a few billion stars make up Dwarf galaxies. These types of galaxies typically have a few billion stars opposite to the larger one which can have hundreds of billions of stars. Most distant galaxies orbit their galaxy’s centre of mass, ranging in size from dwarfs with a few hundred million (108) stars to giants with one hundred trillion (1014) stars.
Modern galaxies are categorized according to how they look. Some types are elliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies, and irregular galaxies. Many such galaxies are thought to have a supermassive black hole at their centres. The Milky Way’s central black hole which is known as Sagittarius has a mass which is four million times greater than the mass of the sun. There are many distant galaxies but as of March 2016, GN-z11 is the oldest and most distant observed galaxy with a distance of 32 billion light-years from earth.
The largest galaxies are giant ellipticals. They resemble footballs or eggs. They can have more than a trillion stars and be 10 times larger than the Milky Way. These galaxies most likely developed when two or more spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way, combined to create a single galaxy.
By that time, you must be wondering about one thing, “How massive is our Universe!”
And why won’t you wonder? When we compare the sizes of some other planets than Earth, we observe that our planet is so small compared to many other planets. Here, we are talking about galaxies! Amazing right?
5. The Hubble Space Telescope and The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Both the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) are astronomical instruments that have helped us a lot in gaining knowledge about the early universe. They play a very major role in understanding the formation of the galaxies. Let’s talk about both and understand what they are.
5.1) The Hubble Space Telescope
More than 30 years have passed since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990. It is an observatory in space that revolves around the Earth and has given astronomers some of the most beautiful and in-depth pictures of the cosmos.
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) is a deep-field image of a small area of space in the group Fornax that is thought to contain 10,000 galaxies. From September 2003 to January 2004, the Hubble Space Telescope collected the original data for the image. It contains light that was given off 400-800 million years after the Big Bang, or roughly 13 billion years ago, by galaxies.
The age of the universe, the existence of dark energy, and the finding of galaxies in the early universe are just a few of the great discoveries that are made by the HST. Our knowledge of how stars and galaxies form and change has very much improved because of its observations.
The HST has some of the best instruments which include spectrographs and cameras, which can detect light at a variety of wavelengths, from ultraviolet to near-infrared. Being in space also enables it to take pictures without getting disturbed by Earth’s atmosphere.
5.2) The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
The James Webb Space Telescope launched on 25 December 2021 at 5:50 pm IST. It is the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST is a space-based observatory like the HST, but it is meant to conduct observation in the infrared area of the spectrum.
This is important because the JWST can watch objects that the HST cannot because infrared light can pass through dust clouds that can block visible light. With a primary mirror that is more than six times bigger than the HST, the JWST is also much bigger than the HST.
The JWST is expected to make some significant discoveries which include the observation of the earliest stages of the star, the detection of the first distant galaxies that formed after the Big Bang, and the study of the atmospheres of exoplanets.
Its equipment is made to detect light from the universe’s oldest and farthest objects, which will give outer space scientists a previously impossible-to-get understanding of the universe’s creation and development.
6. What are Dark Energy and Dark Matter?
You might have heard this term before or maybe not. Don’t worry we will talk about this as briefly as possible. We must understand these terms because the formation of our Universe and the Galaxies we are talking about are made with these. So, let’s understand what exactly is Dark Energy and Dark Matter.
Dark energy and Dark matter are two of the most mysterious things in the universe. Scientists believe that Dark energy is the force that is causing the universe to expand at an increasing rate while Dark matter is guessed to make the most of the mass in the galaxies. Both dark energy and dark matter remain largely unknown and are not well understood by scientists.
The role of these two forces is still being studied by scientists because it is still not well understood. Scientists also believe that both of these forces play a major role in the creation of the universe and the galaxies.
According to a study by NASA, it is found that around 68% of the universe is made with Dark Energy while 27% of the universe is made of Dark matter. The main part is that we actually cannot see Dark matter or Dark energy. The universe that we can observe is roughly 5% of the total.
Shocking, right? , You must have thought that you can see the stars in the night sky and many other entities in space and must be pretty much what space must have everywhere but it still just makes up 5% of the total universe.
7. How was The First Galaxy Formed?
The research for the formation of the first galaxy is still ongoing and studies regarding it are being conducted to understand its proper formation. However, using some theories and models, scientists have predicted the way it could have been done.
The Big Bang, which happened roughly 13.8 billion years ago, was the beginning of the universe. After the Big Bang, a hot and dense plasma of particles filled the whole universe, which later cooled and expanded. Small different versions in the density of matter started to form as the universe cooled. The first huge galaxies were sparked by these density ups and downs.
It is guessed that the first galaxies appeared 200-300 million years after the Big Bang. When gas and dust clouds clumped together and collapsed due to their gravity, galaxy creation and construction first started. The first protogalaxies, which were clouds of gas and dust were starting to assume a more organized structure and were formed by these collapsed clouds.
The protogalaxies kept expanding and changing over time. The protogalaxies heated up as more and more gas and dust were drawn in by gravity, making them denser. The protogalaxies eventually reached a temperature and density where nuclear fusion could happen, producing the first stars.
Compared to the stars we see today, the first stars were very different. They lived much shorter lives and were much bigger and hotter. New stars eventually formed as a result of the heavy elements that the first stars released into the surrounding gas as they exploded in supernovae and burned up.
Dark matter most likely had an impact on the formation of the young galaxies. It is challenging to detect dark matter because it does not interact with light or other types of electromagnetic radiation. However, the motion of stars and galaxies can be seen as a result of their gravitational influence. Due to the additional gravitational attraction that dark matter provided, galaxy formation was probably sped up.
Outer space scientists have combined the observations with theoretical models to study the formation of the first galaxies. Cosmic microwave background radiation, which is thought to be the remaining parts of the Big Bang’s radiation, has shed light on the early universe. Our understanding of the creation of the first galaxies has also been improved by watching nearby galaxies and simulation galaxy formation
Recent observations of far-off galaxies have become even more in-depth because of telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
A combination of theoretical models, simulations, and observations forms the basis of our current understanding of the formation of the first galaxy. Even though there is still a lot we don’t know, technological advancements and discoveries are predicted to give us even more understanding of how the first galaxy formed and evolved in the years to come.