Not only did it masquerade as a brilliant star in the sky, but a mysterious black hole also “blinded” Earthlings. However, what the black hole concealed emitted a unique signal.
Using complex techniques and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a multinational team of astronomers successfully “rescued” an 11-billion-year-old galaxy from a gravitational tug-of-war within the Stephan’s Quintet galaxy group.
Instead of observing the light emitted by what scientists call this “ancient kingdom,” they scrutinized the light it absorbed.
The Stephan’s Quintet galaxy group also harbors another hidden galaxy, closer to Earth than its companions – Image: NASA/ESA/Hubble SM4 ERO Team.
This galaxy was not too distant from our globe and fell well within the Hubble’s easy observation range. However, all of this was hindered by a gravitational tug-of-war. The gravitational tug-of-war, originally a black hole, due to its avid consumption of matter, produced a brilliantly shining region like a star.
Thus, from Earth, it appeared as a star, but in reality, it was not.
According to Live Science, the dazzlingly bright region of this monstrous black hole had caused the ancient galaxy that scientists sought to be “swallowed whole.” Much like how an excessively bright headlight makes it difficult for us to see anything beside, behind, and even in front of it.
Nevertheless, for the galaxy, it could still send signals to Earth by turning gravitational tug-of-war into red light. Of course, this was not a signal from a civilization but a natural process: Star dust from the galaxy had absorbed the blue light from the gravitational tug-of-war, leaving behind red light.
Therefore, with a “reverse” observation method, scientists found it. According to TS Lise Christensen, a member of the research team except for the Nordic Dawn Universe Center (NBI – Denmark), the features they observed in that “ancient kingdom” indicate many similarities with the Milky Way galaxy, which houses Earth.
This ancient galaxy seems to be a “copy,” closer, smaller, but brighter. The second galaxy seems to be forming stars extremely quickly, so close to the main galaxy that they may be an attractively bound pair.
These two galaxies may be a scaled-down model of a galaxy group, including the Milky Way, a “monstrous” galaxy with gravitational interactions with satellite galaxies.
Most importantly, identifying an 11-billion-year-old world is incredibly valuable, as it allows scientists to glimpse the dawn of the universe. Our universe is about 13.8 billion years old, meaning this “kingdom” came into existence only about 3 billion years after the Big Bang.