“The signal is bent by the presence of another massive body, another galaxy, between the target and the observer,” says researcher Nirupam Roy, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science. In a statement announcing the discovery, Roy says “This effectively results in the magnification of the signal by a factor of 30, allowing the telescope to pick it up.”
According to the researchers, these results demonstrate the feasibility of observing faraway galaxies in similar situations with gravitational lensing. It also opens exciting new opportunities for probing the cosmic evolution of stars and galaxies with existing low-frequency radio telescopes.
Their annoncement adds that “The researchers observed the atomic mass of the gas content of this particular galaxy is almost twice the mass of the stars visible to us.”
More information from Space.com:
The signal was detected at a special and significant wavelength known as the “21-centimeter line” or the “hydrogen line,” which is emitted by neutral hydrogen atoms. The detection of the hydrogen line from such a galaxy so far away âS — âS and therefore so early in the universe âS — âS by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India could mean astronomers are ready to begin investigating the formation of the earliest stars and galaxies.
The signal from the star-forming galaxy SDSSJ0826+5630 was emitted when our 13.8 billion-year-old galaxy was just 4.9 billion years old…. Galaxies emit electromagnetic radiation, or light, across a wide range of radio wavelengths, but thus far 21-cm-wavelength radio waves have only been seen from nearby and thus more recent galactic sources.
“It’s the equivalent to a look-back in time of 8.8 billion years,” lead author and McGill University Department of Physics Post-Doctoral cosmologist Arnab Chakraborty, said of the breakthrough in a statement…
The team’s research is detailed in a paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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