NOVA: Oxygen Line Opens New Perspective on the Far Universe

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NOVA: Oxygen Line Opens New Perspective on the Far Universe

Post by bystander » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:07 pm

Oxygen Line Opens New Perspective on the Far Universe
Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) | 2020 Jan 13

A team of astronomers of Leiden University (the Netherlands) and the University of Texas (Austin, United States) has discovered a new way to map distant galaxies. They used an atomic oxygen spectral line for this. Normally, this spectral line cannot be captured with terrestrial telescopes. But because the light comes from distant galaxies, it is stretched and it can actually be measured on Earth. Recently, an instrument developed in the Netherlands made this measurement. The researchers will publish their findings in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

For their observations, the researchers used the SEPIA660 receiver on the APEX telescope in Chile. This receiver was developed by the Dutch Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and installed on the telescope in 2018. APEX is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (Germany), the Onsala Space Observatory (Sweden), and the European Southern Observatory, ESO.

The researchers had to aim the telescope for two hours in one place to detect the galaxy G09.83808. That galaxy stems from a billion years after the big bang. It therefore belongs to the oldest galaxies in the universe.

In the future, the researchers want to map even more distant galaxies based on the oxygen line. They have already calculated that the ALMA observatory in Chile needs just ten to fifteen minutes to see a distant galaxy in detail. ...

First detection of the [OI] 63-um emission from a redshift 6 dusty galaxy ~ M. Rybak et al
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