An analysis of an ancient galaxy reveals some of the most distant and massive star formation regions ever seen.
When the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) first imaged the warped galaxy called SDP.81 in the depths of space, the detail and geometry of this beautiful quirk in spacetime captivated the world.
The galaxy, which was forming in the first billion years after the Big Bang, is one of the finest examples of an Einstein ring captured to date.
“The reconstructed ALMA image of the galaxy is spectacular,” says Rob Ivison, the European Southern Observatory’s Director for Science and co-author on two recent papers based on SDP.81.
“ALMA’s huge collecting area, the large separation of its antennas, and the stable atmosphere above the Atacama Desert all lead to exquisite detail in both images and spectra,” says Ivison.