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The research team detects a record-breaking signal from a galaxy far, far away

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from: Tanya Banner

The giant Metrewave radio telescope in India has captured a record-breaking signal from a distant galaxy. (Archive photo) © National Center for Radio Astrophysics

Thanks to a naturally occurring phenomenon in the universe, researchers detect a record-breaking signal from a distant galaxy.

Montreal – How do stars form in distant galaxies? This question is trying Astronomy To be spelled out for many years – but this is not easy. The signals that galaxies send out become weaker the farther they are from Earth. It is therefore difficult for current telescopes to pick up these signals and make the data available for research.

But now two researchers have made a discovery that could help astronomy. Arnab Chakraborty of Canada’s McGill University and Nirupam Roy of the Indian Institute of Science used the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India to capture a 21-centimetre streak from a distant galaxy. The study conducted by the two researchers was in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society released.

Researchers detect a signal from a distant galaxy

The 21cm line is a signal with a very specific wavelength, also known as the hydrogen line. This signal is emitted by neutral hydrogen atoms and makes it possible to learn more about the formation of the galaxy.

“The galaxy emits different types of radio signals. Until now, it was only possible to detect this particular signal from a nearby galaxy, which limited our knowledge of those galaxies closest to Earth,” Chakraborty explains in one Message his university.

The galaxy whose signals the two researchers detected is particularly exciting to science: SDSSJ0826+5630 is star-forming, which means that new stars are forming there. It is the farthest galaxy from which the hydrogen line has been captured so far.

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Gravitational lensing amplifies the signal by a factor of 30

A naturally occurring phenomenon in space came to the aid of the researchers: “Thanks to the help of A gravitational lens “We were able to pick up a weak signal from a record distance,” says Chakraborty. Co-author Roy explains the phenomenon: “Gravitational lensing amplifies the signal from a distant object, helping us get a glimpse into the early universe. In this particular case, the presence of another massive object, another galaxy, skews the signal between the target and the observer.” This effectively amplifies the signal by a factor of 30, Roy adds, allowing the telescope to pick it up.”

The illustration shows how gravitational reversal amplifies the signal from a distant galaxy.
The illustration shows how gravitational reversal amplifies the signal from a distant galaxy. © Sawada Pardesi

Its co-author Chakraborty is sure: “This will help us understand how galaxies form far from Earth.”

The galaxy signal allows researchers to see 8.8 billion years into the past

The galactic signal picked up by the research team was emitted from the galaxy when the universe was only 4.9 billion years old. Today it is 13.8 billion years old. “That’s the equivalent of 8.8 billion years looking back,” explains Chakraborty, who studies cosmology in Canada.

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Thanks to the distant galaxy’s hydrogen line, the two researchers have already been able to determine that the atomic mass of the galaxy’s gas content is roughly twice that of visible stars. The researchers now hope that in the future other distant galaxies can also be observed using gravitational lensing. (tab)