In a collaborative attempt, astrophysicists from different institutions have found success in discovery of A1689B11 – a spiral galaxy that’s said to be the oldest discovered. The research reports an integral-field spectroscopic (IFS) observation of this gravitationally lensed spiral galaxy. It is the most ancient one till date and is calculated to be 11 billion years old, which means it existed after just 2.6 billion years after the big bang happened. Big bang happened around 13.7 billion years ago, which means this galaxy is in existence since the universe was one-fifth of its current age.
Having redshift value $z=2.54$ A1689B11 belongs to a population of rare spiral galaxies at redshift $z\gtrsim 2$ that mark the formation epoch of thin disks. Future observations with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will greatly increase the sample of these rare galaxies and unveil the earliest onset of spiral arms. This discovery is a major breakthrough and is said to reveal more information about the earlier stages of universe.