Spiral Galaxy Puzzles Astronomers

A galactic find discovered by researchers using the Hubble telescope comes as something as a surprise.

The researchers found a rare early galaxy with pronounced spiral arms. The newfound galaxy, known as BX 442, was identified as a spiral by the Hubble telescope.

"We see the grand-design spiral pattern in this galaxy, the fact that this galaxy exists is astounding, we hadn't expected to find that," says lead study author David Law, an astrophysicist at the University of Toronto.

Current evolutionary wisdom holds that such grand design spiral galaxies simply didn’t exist at such an early time in the history of the universe

Co-author Alice Shapley of UCLA, commented “We first thought this could be an illusion, and perhaps we were being led astray by the picture. What we found when we took this spectral image of this galaxy is that the spiral arms do belong to this galaxy; it wasn’t an illusion. It’s rotating and has spiral arms. Not only does it look like a rotating disk galaxy – it really is. We were blown away!”

Spirals are common in the modern universe, but as astronomers gaze across the cosmos at objects farther and farther away it is unique.

But somehow a regular spiral structure was imprinted.

Says astrophysicist Christopher Conselice of the University of Nottingham."We don't really have a good explanation for how the spiral arms exist. "There's a lot of questions that we just haven't answered."

(Editors note) Because the most current studies show fully-formed galaxies (including sprial galaxies) near the beginning of the universe, creation becomes the logical and obvious alternative.

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