These are very far away and so very, very old. The best guess is that we are seeing galaxies *before* their stars ignite.
Dark Galaxies Observed For First Time, Scientists Claim | TPM Idea Lab
Scientists have for the first time pinpointed what they believe to be starless galaxies, also known as dark galaxies — gas-filled clusters without much light that are theorized to have been important features of the early universe, leading to the development of the multitude of bright, star filled galaxies that now populate the Universe.
The discovery of 12 distinct dark galaxies located some 11 billion light years from Earth, announced Wednesday, was achieved using the Very Large Telescope (VLT), a series of visible-light and infrared telescope instruments located in the mountains of northern Chile which are managed by the European Southern Observatory.
A trio of scientists, one based out of Switzerland, another the UK and the third California, found the dark galaxies — which are extremely difficult to detect as a result of their low light emissions — by using one of the most brilliantly lit objects in the known Universe: a quasar, or a distant galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center, which spits out energy and light as it sucks in the stars and matter around it.
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