In the distant past of the cosmos, there is a galaxy that is observed to be whirling around faster than any other galaxy that has ever been observed doing so.

The light from the distant galaxy identified as MACS1149-JD1, or JD1, takes 13.3 billion years to reach Earth. Astronomers have uncovered hints that the galaxy spins. According to astronomer Akio Inoue of Waseda University in Tokyo, “The galaxy we analyzed, JD1, is the most distant example of a spinning galaxy.”

“How galaxies like the Milky Way developed is strongly tied to an issue,” explains Inoue. “The genesis of the rotating motion in galaxies is intimately related to this topic.” Therefore, the discovery of the beginning of rotation in the early cosmos is an exciting one.

The JD1 gene was found in the year 2012. Because of how far away it was from Earth, the light from it had been redshifted, which means that its wavelengths had become longer as a result of the expansion of the cosmos. This light that had been redshifted showed that JD1 existed only about 500 million years after the Big Bang.

In order to achieve that measurement, astronomers used light that came from the entire galaxy. Now, Inoue and colleagues have observed more minor differences in how that light is redistributed around the galaxy’s disk by utilizing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile for almost two months in 2018. The most recent findings indicate that although though JD1 as a whole is receding from the planet Earth, its northern portion is doing so at a more gradual rate than its southern portion. According to the findings that were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on July 1, that is evidence of rotation.


JD1 rotates at a speed of around 180,000 kilometers per hour, which is approximately a quarter of the pace at which the Milky Way rotates. The galaxy is also much smaller compared to other spiral galaxies that exist today. According to Inoue, JD1 may have only recently begun to spin.

In the next year, observations made by the James Webb Space Telescope of the galaxy JD1 will provide additional information regarding its formation, as well as the formation of other galaxies that are similar to our own (SN: 10/6/21).

Leave a Reply