Earth captures radio signals sent from a far away galaxy

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune has discovered a radio signal coming from atomic hydrogen in a very far-off galaxy. This ground-breaking finding was achieved by researchers from Indian Institute of Science and McGill University. When our 13.8 billion-year-old galaxy was only 4.9 billion years old, the star-forming galaxy SDSSJ0826+5630 released a signal. The signal enabled the researchers to determine the amount of gas in the galaxy, which they discovered to be double the mass of the early galaxy’s visible stars.

“By a wide margin, the astronomical distance across which such a signal has been detected is the biggest yet. Additionally, this is the first independently verified discovery of substantial lensing of a galaxy’s 21 cm emission “according to a statement from IISc. A low-frequency radio telescope called the GMRT is used to study a variety of radio astronomical issues, from the end of the observable universe to solar systems in our neighbourhood.

The fundamental fuel needed for star formation in a galaxy is atomic hydrogen. Atomic hydrogen is created when hot, ionised gas from a galaxy’s surrounding medium falls onto the universe. This eventually transforms into molecular hydrogen, which results in the creation of stars. However, because of how feeble this radio signal is, it is almost hard for modern telescopes to pick up the emission from a distant galaxy.According to the statement, “Up to this point, the most distant galaxy detected using 21 cm emission was at redshift z=0.376, which corresponds to a look-back time of 4.1 billion years (Redshift represents the change in wavelength of the signal depending on the object’s location and movement; a greater value of z indicates a farther object).”

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