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The galaxies of the Universe, and the host of dazzling stars that set them on fabulous fire with their beautiful, raging light, were born very long ago. There were many things already happening, long before there was a Sun, or an Earth, and people on our planet--who could stare up into the mysterious heavens in wonder and try to understand the most secretive and hidden distant corners of Spacetime. The currently most widely accepted model, explaining how the galaxies of the Cosmos formed, proposes that large galaxies, like our own starlit Milky Way, were rare inhabitants of the early Universe--and large galaxies only eventually attained their mature and majestic sizes as the result of collisions and mergers between small protogalactic blobs doing their ancient dance in the swath of Space and Time that was our primordial Universe. The first galaxies are generally believed to have been small--only about one-tenth the size of our Milky Way Galaxy. However, in April 2017, an international team of astronomers announced that they have, for the first time, detected a massive, inactive galaxy from an era when the Universe was only 1.65 billion years old--a time when such a massive, dead galaxy should not have had enough time to form in the Cosmos.
Astronomers predict that most galaxies from this early epoch are relatively small, and still in the process of giving birth to bursts of brilliant and fiery stellar babies--at a very rapid pace. However, this very unusual galaxy is "a monster" and essentially inactive--no longer producing new stars, noted Dr. Karl Glazebrook, in an April 6, 2017 Swinburne University Press Release. Dr. Glazebrook is Director of Swinburne's Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, who led the team. Swinburne University is in Melbourne, Australia.
The astronomers found that within a relatively brief span of time, this massive, "monster" galaxy, dubbed ZF-COSMOS-20115, managed to give birth to all of its stellar inhabitants--at three times the rate of our own Milky Way today--in an extreme star-burst event. Despite this spectacular stellar fireworks display, this strange beast inhabiting the galactic zoo, stopped producing new stellar sparklers only a billion years after the Big Bang birth of the Universe almost 14 billion years ago. This bizarre, quiescent, so-called "red and dead" galaxy--of a type common in our modern Universe today--should not exist at such an ancient epoch of our Universe's history.