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Gas cloud could alter galaxy formation theories
Posted: Thu, Jan 4, 2001, 11:38 AM ET (1638 GMT)
The discovery of a massive gas cloud around a distant, young galaxy could reshape existing theories of galaxy formations, astronomers reported Wednesday. In a paper published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, astronomers using the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico said they discovered a giant gas cloud with the raw materials to form 100 billion stars near a young galaxy 12 billion light-years from Earth. Such a discovery of a "ready-made" large galaxy is in conflict with existing explanations for galaxy formations, which state that large galaxies are built up over time as smaller pieces formed early in the Universe merge. Although the galaxy dates back to just a billion years after the Big Bang, it had already gone through one generation of short-lived massive stars, generating heavier elements like carbon and oxygen that astronomers were able to detect with the VLA.
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