Astronomers Discover an Extremely Distant Galaxy

Within the galaxy, the team discovered faint signals of ionized oxygen that were emitted almost 13.3 billion years ago


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An international team of astronomers have discovered one of the farthest known objects in the universe, a galaxy named MACS1149-JD1.

The team was led by Takuya Hashimoto, an astronomer at Osaka Sangyo University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Based on the wavelength of the light, stretched from infrared to microwave by the expansion of the universe, the team ascertained that the galaxy is 13.28 billion light-years away.

Within the galaxy, the team was surprised to discover faint signals of ionized oxygen that were emitted almost 13.3 billion years ago or 500 million years after the Big Bang.

The astronomers used some of the most powerful telescopes on Earth and found evidence that stars were forming incredibly early on in the life of the universe, just 250 million years after the Big Bang.

These stars appeared when the universe was only 2 percent of its current age.

Before the first stars appeared, oxygen and carbon did not exist in the universe. This is because stars are the burning crucibles that convert hydrogen and helium into larger elements, so without stars, there is no oxygen. Instead, the universe consisted primarily of radiation leftover from the Big Bang, as well as hydrogen, helium and a trace amount of lithium.

Scientists used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescope in Chile. They found traces of the presence of neutral oxygen atoms, which were formed in the interior of the stars and released into the surrounding space at the final stages of their existence. Atoms are ionized when exposed to radiation from other stars and start emitting light in the infrared region of the spectrum.

Source Science Alert
date 19.05.2018
categories Science
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