The farthest galaxy so far, 13.2-billion light years away, was discovered by astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), existing since the Universe was approximately 600 million years old. The Universe is believed to have been formed 13.8 billion years ago after the Big Bang. In these ancient times, the Universe was not completely transparent, and it was filled with a hydrogen fog that used to absorb the ultraviolet light from young galaxies.
NASA was the sponsor of the project that allowed astronomers to spot the first and farthest galaxy so far, which could provide insight into the Universe’s ancient past. The newly discovered galaxy gained the name EGSY8p7 would function as a window towards how the very first stars were produced in the Universe. So, this would work as a crucial pathway towards how the first stars lit up the Universe after the Big Bang.
The scientific circle of astrophysicists used the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to detect this particular mystic galaxy.
This galaxy, inspiring a deep sense of mystery and wonder, was discerned through the infrared spectrograph, a spectroscope designed to photograph or record spectra, at the observatory that discovered the “Lyman-alpha emission line”, i.e. the hydrogen gas heated up by ultraviolet radiation coming from the galaxy’s newborn stars.
Adi Zitrin, lead author of the study from the California Institute of Technology from Pasadena, stated that the Lyman-alpha emission line of hydrogen could frequently be seen in nearby space objects, being one of the most valid tracers of star formation. The team of researchers also reported that the unforeseen discovery could allow the new information to function as a guide on how the Universe developed in its early days.
Zitrin also said that the deeper they would attempt to penetrate into the Universe, therefore “traveling” back to earlier times, the more absorbed the signal would become, as the space between galaxies contained the increasing number of dark clouds of hydrogen.
The “cosmic reionisation” process (i.e. ionisation means dissociation into ions, as a result of heat, radiation, chemical reaction or electrical discharge) offers insight into the formation of first-generation galaxies. Now, “cosmic reionisation” means that the radiation from ancient galaxies split the obscure clouds of hydrogen into its constituent protons and electrons, thus, making the Universe transparent to Lyman-alpha light.
Zitrin concluded that the process of cosmic reionisation was the final missing piece that would allow further understanding in the puzzle regarding the evolution of the Universe.
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