A piece of news has shocked the world of astronomy and science. In fact, a radio signal from a galaxy nearly 9 billion light years away from Earth was captured by two scientists, Arnab Chakraborty of the Physics Department of McGill University in Montreal in Canada and Nirupam Roy of the Physics Department of the Indian Institute of Science of Bangalor India.
The farther away a galaxy is, the weaker its signals are and more difficult to record with current radio telescopes. The radio wave could allow astronomers to look back into the past and understand the early universe, which is thought to be around 13.7 billion years old.
"That's the equivalent of looking back in time 8.8 billion years," said Arnab Chakraborty, a cosmologist and co-author of the wave detection study, told The Metro. The discovery was described in a study published by the prestigious Royal Astronomical Society journal.
The two researchers, in Canada and India, were able to capture the signal from the galaxy called SDSSJ0826+5630, with the help of a giant telescope, thus capturing the radio signal at a specific wavelength called the 21 cm, the most distant ever from a galaxy.
Astronomers used the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope in Pune, India to capture the radio signal at a specific wavelength called the 21cm line, the furthest ever from a galaxy, raising hopes that the secrets of the early universe can be discovered using existing telescope technology.
For this measurement, they used a technique called gravitational lensing (a term coined by Albert Einstein), a ripple in space-time that allows background objects to be magnified to extremes by foreground objects. Gravitational waves, triggered by very powerful phenomena such as the explosion of a supernova or the collision of black holes, travel through the universe at the speed of light, creating ripples in space-time that were undetectable until a few years ago.
This breakthrough demonstrates that it is possible to observe distant galaxies using existing low-frequency radio telescopes. "This will also help us understand the composition of galaxies at much greater distances from Earth," added Chakraborty.
In the study, the researchers said they were able to observe the distant galaxy's atomic mass of its gas content. And what they found is that this particular galaxy is almost twice the mass of the stars visible to us. In the future, they hope to use existing low-frequency radio telescopes to observe the early universe.