Friday , December 3 2021

Big Bang fossil was detected with giant telescope


A relic cloud of gas, orphan after the storm, has been discovered in the remote universe of astronomers using the world's most powerful optical telescope.

The discovery of such a rare fossil, led by doctoral student Fred Robert and Professor Michael Murphy from the Swinburne University of Technology, provides new information on how the first galaxies in the universe were formed.

"Everywhere we look, the gas in the universe is polluted by waste from explosive stars," says Robert. "But this cloud seems pristine, unaffected by stars, even 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.

"If it has any heavy elements at all, it must be less than 1 / 10,000th of the proportion we see in our Sun. This is extremely low – the most convincing explanation is that it is a true relic of Big Bang. "

The Swinburne researchers used the twelve-meter 10-meter telescope of W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaiia to observe the spectrum of a quarrel behind gas clouds. The quarantine – the bright shine of material that falls in a super-massive black hole – provides a light source against which the liquid's spectral shadows in gas clouds can be seen.

"We targeted quasades where former researchers had seen only shadows from hydrogen and not from heavy elements in low-quality spectra," said Robert. "This lets us discover such a rare fossil fast with the precious time on the Keck telescope."

Professor Murphy says that it is now possible to investigate for these fossil relics in the Big Bang.

"It will tell us exactly how rare they are and help us understand how some gas formed stars and galaxies in the early universe, and why some did not."

Co-author of research, Professor John O & Meara, former of St Michael's College and Professor Michele Fumagalli, Durham University, discovered the only two other fossil clouds that were known in 2011.

"It was serendipitive discovery, and we thought they were the top of the iceberg, but no one has discovered anything like it – they are definitely very rare and hard to see. Now it's great to finally discover a systematic," says Professor O & # 39; Meara.

The paper, "Exploring the Origin of a New, Apparently Metal Free Gas Cloud at z = 4.4", will be published by Monthly Announcements from the Royal Astronomical Society. The oppression is available at

The research was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project contribution, and Professor Fumagalli's contribution was partially financed by a European Research Council. Professor O & Meara is now Chief Scientist at W. M. Keck Observatory.

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