A recent discovery by astronomers may rewrite everything that we had once known about the Universe’s early days. On Wednesday, the scientific publication Nature revealed that experts had found an array of ancient invisible galaxies – 39 to be exact.

The cluster of galaxies will reportedly help experts understand vital questions about the world including supermassive black holes and dark matter. The invisibility of the display was due to distance from earth and the type of light that they produce – which the Hubble space telescope is unable to capture.

Experts utilised the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA) located in the Atacama Desert in the Chile. The technology is made of sixty-six radio telescopes and allowed astronomers, along with other resources, to get a clearer look at the hidden galaxies.

What Does It Mean?

The discovery completely defies early universe theories; with this new understanding there are ten times more young galaxies than expected. The galaxies are believed to have formed within the first 2 billion years of the universe’s 13.7 billion lifespan.

Tao Wang, an author and researcher at the University of Tokyo, highlighted the significance of this discovery: “This is the first time that such a large population of massive galaxies were confirmed during the first two billion years of the 13.7 billion-year life of the universe. There were previously invisible to us.” As light needs time to travel, experts are looking back in time and seeing this congregation as they were two billion years ago.

The proclaimed ‘treasure trove’ emphasises the depth of knowledge still awaiting to be discovered about the cosmos. With deep space still eluding our regular comprehension, astronomers are excited about where this new understanding will take us. And even within this discovery, there is still so much for experts to grasp: “I’m eager for upcoming observatories like the space-based James Webb Space Telescope to show us what these primordial beasts are really made of,” said Wang. 

Edward Cowley