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Spinning Galaxies in the Early Universe

Based on strong [CII] line detecions with ALMA, we were able to spectroscopically confirm two galaxies at z~6.8 and - for the first time - measure kinematic information of normal galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization, 13 Gyr in the past.

Despite their relatively small size – about five times smaller than the Milky Way –ALMA was able to detect rotation in these galaxies (indicated by the blue and red colors in the image below). If confirmed, this is quite surprising for galaxies such early in the universe, where we expected the gas to be more chaotic as the galaxies are still assembling rapidly. These findings pave the way for larger studies of galaxies during the first billion years of cosmic time.

Our results were published in Nature (Smit et al. 2018), and the associated international press release can be found here. The local release in French can be found here.



Jan 10, 2018

Releases & News