Scientists from Arizona State University have discovered a young galaxy that exhibits features like more developed galaxies.
The galaxy, called S0901, is rotating in a calm manner typical of more developed galaxies like the spiral Milky Way, according to scientists.
"This galaxy is the equivalent of a 10-year-old. [But] S0901 is unusual because it's not fidgeting, and instead is very well behaved," James Rhoads of the Arizona State University said in a statement.
The discovery was made using the Herschel space observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important participation by Nasa.
Scientists targeted two young galaxies to examine the internal conditions of a forming galaxy and were baffled to find S0901 unusually ahead of its time.
"This is a truly surprising result that reminds us that we still don't understand many details of the evolution of the universe," Paul Goldsmith, scientist at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said.
The finding, which appears in the 20 May issue of the Astrophysical Journal, suggests that S0901 has lesser turbulence than those found in other galaxies in an early era.
"Usually, when astronomers examine galaxies in an early era, they find that turbulence plays a much greater role than it does in modern galaxies. But S0901 is a clear exception to that pattern," Rhoads, lead author of the study, added.
At the time of its formation, a young galaxy has more turbulence because its gravity attracts more gas clouds, which fall into disordered orbits causing the turbulence.
"Galaxies 10 billion years ago were making stars more actively than they do now. They usually also show more turbulence, likely because they are accumulating gas faster than a modern galaxy does. But here we have cases where an early galaxy combines the calm rotation of a modern one with the active star formation of their early peers," co-author Sangeeta Malhotra explained.