This picture combines a visible light image of the distant system with data from the Cosmic Web Imager (CWI). A filament of the cosmic web (outlined here with parallel curved lines) can be seen funneling cold gas onto the protogalaxy (outlined with an ellipse). Credit: Martin/PCWI/Caltech
The CWI is an integral field spectrograph; the researchers used it to create a multiwavelength map showing the velocities with which gas in the system is moving with respect to the center of the system. The red side of the disk is rotating away from us, while the blue side is rotating toward us. Gas within the filament is moving at a constant velocity that matches the blue side of the rotating disk. Credit: Martin/PCWI/Caltech
A team of astronomers led by Caltech has discovered a giant swirling disk of gas 10 billion light-years away—a galaxy-in-the-making that is actively being fed cool primordial gas tracing back to the Big Bang.
Written by Kimm Fesenmaier