Scientists discover the most distant galaxy we’ve ever found

(ORDO NEWS) — The galaxy, whose light took almost 13.5 billion years to reach us, has just been confirmed as the earliest galaxy discovered to date.

By studying the oxygen content of the galaxy with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have accurately dated it to a period of just 367 million years after the Big Bang, when the first light sources in the universe were still igniting and circulating freely through space.

The result confirms the observations made by JWST and offers new information about the early universe that tells us about the origin of the elements.

“The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope showed so many early galaxies that we felt we had to test our results using the best observatory on Earth,” says astronomer Tom Bucks of Nagoya University in Japan.

“It has been a very exciting time to be an observer astronomer and we have been able to track the status of the observation which will allow us to check the JWST results in real time.”

The galaxy, named GHZ2/GLASS-z12, was first seen by JWST last July, shortly after the telescope opened its segmented golden eye into the universe’s infrared light.

November article. described the discovery in detail, dating the galaxy to about 350 million years after the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.8 billion years ago.

It’s really amazing, but any astronomical discovery is much more reliable if it can be confirmed with an independent tool.

So a team led by Baxx and astronomer Jorge Zavala at Japan’s National Astronomical Observatory turned to the ALMA radio telescope to see what else they could learn about the young galaxy.

They turned ALMA in the direction of GHZ2/GLASS-z12 and began looking for an oxygen signature in the radio spectrum.

Because oxygen takes a relatively short time to form, it is commonly used to learn more about galaxies in the early universe.

And when light hits oxygen, it is re-emitted in a certain range of wavelengths, resulting in a brighter line in that part of the spectrum.

Each of the 66 12-meter radio antennas that make up ALMA was put into operation, eventually finding an oxygen emission line near the GHZ2/GLASS-z12 position. Subsequent analyzes and statistical tests showed that the signal was real and related to the galaxy.

“At first, we were concerned about the small difference in position between the detected oxygen emission line and the galaxy seen by Webb. “Backs explains.

“But we did a detailed check of the observations to confirm that this is indeed a reliable finding and is very difficult to explain with any other interpretation.”

>The very small distance between the galaxy and the oxygen ejection may indicate that strong explosions or interactions have robbed the galaxy of much of its gas, throwing it into intergalactic space.

The team dated their observations exactly 367 million years after the Big Bang.

And, based on the brightness of the emission line, they were able to conclude that a large number of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium formed relatively quickly in the galaxy.

It is very interesting. The early universe, before the advent of stars, was mostly hydrogen with a small amount of helium. Then stars formed; in their hot, dense cores, they began to push atoms against each other, creating heavier elements.

But these elements were locked inside the stars; it wasn’t until the stars died in spectacular supernovae that heavier elements could proliferate into interstellar space.

The presence of oxygen in the universe at such an early stage gives us some clues about the timing and evolution of these first stars that we have yet to see directly.

“These deep ALMA observations provide compelling evidence for the existence of galaxies during the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang and confirm Webb’s amazing observations,” says Zavala.

“The JWST work has just begun, but we are already adjusting our models of galaxy formation in the early universe to match these observations.

Webb and the ALMA radio telescope array give us confidence that we can bring our cosmic horizons closer to the dawn of the universe.”


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