A telescope located in India picked up a radio signal from a galaxy almost nine light-years away from Earth, the most distant signal ever received and therefore from the most ancient galaxy, and scientists are looking forward to having a better understanding of the creation of our universe.
The finding “will help us understand the composition of galaxies at much greater distances from Earth,” explains Arnab Chakraborty, a post-doctoral researcher at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and co-author of the study.
The Giant Metreware Radio Telescope managed to pick up a radio signal from the galaxy SDSSJ0826+5630 located 8.8 billion light-years from Earth, meaning that the signal was emitted when our 13.8 billion-years-old universe was in the first third of its current age. The signal came from gaseous hydrogen since the wavelength it was associated with is a specific one: the 21-centimeter line – or “hydrogen line” – emits only neutral hydrogen atoms. The distant signal was picked up due to the presence of a galaxy located between the signal and the telescope. By being bent, the signal was magnified by a factor of 30, making it possible for the telescope to pick it up. Through technology such as low-frequency radio signals, further probing is possible to discover the origins of the universe.