A groundbreaking discovery was made by scientists in India, as they were able to capture a radio signal from a distance of 9 billion light-years away from Earth. The signal was detected using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope and is considered a record-breaking achievement in the field of astronomy.
The signal was detected using a unique wavelength known as a “21-centimeter line” or the “hydrogen line,” which is emitted by neutral hydrogen atoms. This breakthrough could potentially lead to new insights into the formation of some of the earliest stars and galaxies.
The signal was captured from a “star-forming galaxy” named SDSSJ0826+5630, which was emitted when the 13.8 billion-year-old Milky Way – the galaxy where Earth resides – was just 4.9 billion years old. This means that the signal is the equivalent to a look-back in time of 8.8 billion years, according to author and McGill University Department of Physics post-doctoral cosmologist Arnab Chakraborty.
It’s worth noting that galaxies emit light across a wide range of radio wavelengths, but until recently, 21-cm-wavelength radio waves had only been recorded from galaxies nearby. This breakthrough allows scientists to capture this particular signal from a galaxy much farther away, expanding our knowledge of the universe.
The signal also allowed astronomers to measure the galaxy’s gas content and therefore, find the galaxy’s mass. This determination has led scientists to conclude that this far-off galaxy is double the mass of the stars visible from Earth. This discovery opens up many new possibilities for future research and could potentially lead to a better understanding of the universe.