Artist’s impression of the galaxy NGP–190387
This artist’s impression shows NGP–190387, a star-forming, dusty galaxy that is so far away its light has taken over 12 billion years to reach us.
ALMA observations have revealed the presence of fluorine in the gas clouds of NGP–190387. To date, this is the most distant detection of the element in a star-forming galaxy, one that we see as it was only 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang — about 10% of the current age of the Universe. The discovery sheds a new light on how stars forge fluorine, suggesting short-lived stars known as Wolf–Rayet are its most likely birthplace.