JUN 20, 2016 10:32 AM PDT

Astronomers Find the Most Distant Oxygen in the Universe to Date

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

As space observation technology continues to become more powerful, we are able to peer deeper into the black abyss that is outer space.
 
Our universe is constantly expanding, and as a result, the things in the outermost reaches of our universe continue to drift further and further away. There comes a point where our modern technology can’t see as far as the universe has expanded, hence the reason we’re always trying to make bigger and better space telescopes.
 
Nevertheless, some astronomers say that they’ve detected what appears to be the most distant source of oxygen ever discovered in our universe with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The findings are published in the journal Science.
 

The most distant oxygen ever found in our universe has been found, illustrated by the green in this artist's impression.

 Image Credit: NAOJ

The oxygen was found in a galaxy named SXDF-NB1006-2 some 13.1 billion light years away from Earth and has reportedly become ionized by the stars around it.
 

The actual, non-artist's impression image.

 Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NAOJ

Seeking heavy elements in the early Universe is an essential approach to explore the star formation activity in that period," said Akio Inoue at Osaka Sangyo University, Japan, and lead author of this study. "Studying heavy elements also gives us a hint to understand how the galaxies were formed and what caused the cosmic reionization.”
 
The idea here is that just after the Big Bang, the universe was filled with electrically neutral gas, and radiation had ionized the gas to produce something known as cosmic reionization.
 
Because there is so much debate on how cosmic ionization came to be after the Big Bang, Inoue believes that studying this distant ionized oxygen may provide scientists with clues as to how it is formed and why.
 
The oxygen discovered by ALMA is believed to be no more than 700 million years older than the Big Bang, so it could provide a lot of potential for learning more about our early universe.

"This is the first step to understanding what kind of objects caused cosmic reionization," said Yoichi Tamura of the University of Tokyo. "Our next observations with ALMA have already started. Higher resolution observations will allow us to see the distribution and motion of ionized oxygen in the galaxy and provide precious information to understand the properties of the galaxy."

Source: ALMA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Icy Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Expelled from Solar System
NOV 09, 2020
Icy Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Expelled from Solar System
In mapping the original locations of Saturn and Jupiter in our Solar System, astronomers have found that there was once ...
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
JAN 23, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Icelandic sediment holds clues for early Martian climate
JAN 23, 2021
Icelandic sediment holds clues for early Martian climate
New research conducted by scientists from Rice University aims to investigate places on Mars that harbor similar geologi ...
MAR 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
MAR 16, 2021
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
Many years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to catch a glimpse of amazing auroras that occur on Jupiter. Now res ...
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
MAY 29, 2021
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
Researchers have that there was four times more soot in the pre-industrial Southern Hemisphere's atmosphere than pre ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
Loading Comments...