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A dynamically cold disk galaxy in the early Universe

Rizzo, F., Vegetti, S., Powell, D., Fraternali, F., McKean, J. P., Stacey, H. R. & White, S. D. M., 13-Aug-2020, In : Nature. 584, 7820, p. 201-204 4 p.

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  • A dynamically cold disk galaxy in the early Universe

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DOI

The extreme astrophysical processes and conditions that characterize the early Universe are expected to result in young galaxies that are dynamically different from those observed today1–5. This is because the strong effects associated with galaxy mergers and supernova explosions would lead to most young star-forming galaxies being dynamically hot, chaotic and strongly unstable1,2. Here we report the presence of a dynamically cold, but highly star-forming, rotating disk in a galaxy at redshift6z = 4.2, when the Universe was just 1.4 billion years old. Galaxy SPT–S J041839–4751.9 is strongly gravitationally lensed by a foreground galaxy at z = 0.263, and it is a typical dusty starburst, with global star-forming7 and dust properties8 that are in agreement with current numerical simulations9 and observations10. Interferometric imaging at a spatial resolution of about 60 parsecs reveals a ratio of rotational to random motions of 9.7 ± 0.4, which is at least four times larger than that expected from any galaxy evolution model at this epoch1–5 but similar to the ratios of spiral galaxies in the local Universe11. We derive a rotation curve with the typical shape of nearby massive spiral galaxies, which demonstrates that at least some young galaxies are dynamically akin to those observed in the local Universe, and only weakly affected by extreme physical processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume584
Issue number7820
Publication statusPublished - 13-Aug-2020

    Keywords

  • STAR-FORMING GALAXIES, TO-LIGHT RATIO, C II EMISSION, ATLAS(3D) PROJECT, ANGULAR-MOMENTUM, MOLECULAR GAS, DARK-MATTER, SCALING RELATIONS, EVOLUTION, KINEMATICS

ID: 133872467