A Star Is Born. Well, a Lot of Stars

A newly discovered galaxy turned out 4,000 stars a year, contradicting a long standing theory

Considering the birth rate, astronomers might have named this the Rabbit Galaxy. According to a new paper in today's issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers have discovered a galaxy that birthed stars 400 times faster than our Milky Way, overturning previously held ideas about the formation of giant galaxies

The newly discovered Baby Boom galaxy is the brightest galaxy of its type, thanks to its prodigious star production. During the 12.3 billion year old period scientists are currently looking at, the galaxy produced between 1,000 and 4,000 stars a year. While impressive as such, that rate of star birth is even more unusual considering the universe was only 1.3 billions years old at the time. Before the discovery of the Baby Boom galaxy, researchers had never seen a galaxy that productive while the universe was so young.

The rate of growth witnessed in the Baby Boom galaxy runs contrary to scientists' earlier theories that had very old, very large galaxies attaining their size through slow, gradual expansion. Now researchers have to investigate whether this quick-breeding galaxy is an aberration or if rapid star birth was the norm during the universe's younger days.