One of the brightest galaxies known from the epoch when the universe had 20% of its present age, was recently discovered by astronomers in Spain.
Located approximately 10 thousand million light years away, a new galaxy is about thousand times brighter than the Milky Way. Researchers also said that it is the brightest of the sub-millimetre galaxies, with very strong emission in the far infrared.
A team led by Anastasio Diaz-Sanches from Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) in Spain used gravitational lensing (as a sort of magnifier) and the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma).
To find this particular galaxy, researchers the data bases of the satellites WISE (NASA) and Planck (ESA) in order to identify the brightest submillimetre galaxies.
The galaxy is notable for having a high rate of star formation. It is forming stars at a rate of 1000 solar masses per year, compared to the Milky Way which is forming stars at a rate of some twice a solar mass per year.
The fact that the galaxy is so bright, its light is gravitationally amplifed, and has multiple images allows us to look into its internal properties, which would otherwise not be possible with such distant galaxies.
NOTE: According to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity when a ray of light passes close to a very massive object, the gravity of the object attracts the photons and deviates them from their intial path. This phenomenon, known as gravitational lensing, is comparable to that produced by lenses on light rays, and acts as a sort of magnifier, changing the size and intensity of the apparent image of the original object.