tech2 News StaffSep 02, 2020 18:05:04 IST
An international team of astronomers detected extreme-Ultraviolet (UV) light originating from a galaxy called AUDFs01 that is 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.
There are three subdivisions of ultraviolet radiation: near-ultraviolet (NUV), middle ultraviolet (MUV), far-ultraviolet (FUV), and extreme ultraviolet (EUV).
The team that made this discovery includes scientists from India, Switzerland, France, The USA, Japan and The Netherlands and is being led by Dr Kanak Saha, Associate Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.
The galaxy AUDFs01 is located in the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). The XDF was assembled by combining 10 years of photographs captured of a patch of sky at the centre of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field by the Hubble Telescope.
Since EUV can only be observed from space, the team made use of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s AstroSat to detect it pouring out of the galaxy.
AstroSat is India’s first mission that focuses solely on astronomy and is a multi-wavelength satellite. At any given point, it has five X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem. It was first launched in 2015 and is supposed to have a mission life of five years.
Using one of the six payloads onboard the satellite, the UVIT- the observation showed that the galaxy AUDFs01 is the first example of a galaxy with clumpy morphology and leaking ionizing radiation.
Dr Somak Raychaudhury, Director of IUCAA, said in a statement “This is a very important clue to how the dark ages of the Universe ended and there was light in the Universe. We need to know when this started, but it has been very hard to find the earliest sources of light.”
According to a report by The Print, after the team made this observation, they analysed the data for two years to ensure they had made no mistakes since the Hubble telescope had not been able to detect it. They wanted to be certain that the emission was indeed originating from the AUDFs01.
“AstroSat/UVIT was able to achieve this unique feat because the background noise in the UVIT detector is much less than the ones on Hubble Space Telescope”, said Saha in a statement released by ISRO.
“We knew it would be an uphill task to convince the international community that UVIT has recorded extreme-UV emission from this galaxy when more powerful HST has not,” he added.
The results of this study have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
NASA congratulates researchers on their exciting discovery. Science is collaborative effort around the world & discoveries like these help further humankind’s understanding of where we come from, where are we going, & are we alone: NASA Public Affairs Officer, Felicia Chou to ANI https://t.co/7uK1ompJiA
— ANI (@ANI) September 1, 2020
NASA sends its congratulations
NASA’s Public Affairs Officer Felicia Chou told ANI that said that “NASA congratulates the researchers on their exciting discovery” and the American space agency believes that this will further mankind’s understanding.
She said, “Science is a collaborative effort around the world, and discoveries like these help further humankind’s understanding of where we come from, where are we going, and are we alone.”