Original article via The Science Explorer
Blue “Little Lion” Galaxy Could Reveal the Conditions at the Start of the Big Bang | The Science Explorer
It is the most metal-poor galaxy ever discovered.
About 30 million light-years from Earth lies a unique, faint blue galaxy located in the constellation Leo Minor. Why is it to special? It could shed new light on the conditions at the birth of the universe.
The galaxy Leoncino, or “little lion,” contains the lowest level of heavy chemical elements, or “metals,” ever observed in a system of stars. In astronomy, any element other than hydrogen or helium is referred to as a metal, and metal-poor galaxies closely resemble the early universe.
“Finding the most metal-poor galaxy ever is exciting since it could help contribute to a quantitative test of the Big Bang,” said co-author John J. Salzer, professor at IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Astronomy, in an IU news release. “There are relatively few ways to explore conditions at the birth of the universe, but low-metal galaxies are among the most promising.”
Photo credit: NASA; A. Hirschauer & J. Salzer, Indiana University; J. Cannon, Macalester College; and K. McQuinn, University of Texas. Image has been cropped