An international team of astronomers led by Dr. Marcin Glowacki, who previously worked at the Inter university Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy & University of the Western Cape in South Africa, has made an amazing discovery from 5 billion light-years away, according to a statement released institution on Thursday.
Using the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa, researchers discovered a powerful radio wave laser called “megamaser,” which is the most distant megamaser of its kind ever discovered. Its light has traveled 58 thousand billion billion (58 followed by 21 zeros) kilometers to Earth.
When galaxy collide..
How did that happen? Megamasers are formed when two galaxies in the universe collide violently.
“When galaxies collide, the gas they contain becomes extremely dense and can trigger concentrated beams of light to shoot-out,” Glowacki said. “This is the first such hydroxyl megamaser observed by MeerKAT and the most distant observed by telescope to date. It is impressive that we have already found a record-breaking megamaser in just one night of observation. It shows how good the telescope is.
The researchers named the object “Nkalakatha” [pronounced ng-kuh-la-kuh-tah], an isiZulu word meaning “big boss,” and further emphasize how impressive it is to find the record-breaking object in just one night of observation.
A single night of observations
“It is impressive that we have found a record-breaking redshift megamaser in a single night of observation with MeerKAT. The full LADUMA survey of more than 3,000 plus hours will be the most sensitive of its kind,” Glowacki said in a press release from The University of the Western Cape. .LADUMA is the project that Glowacki and his team are currently working on, and it stands for “Looking at the Distant Universe with the Meerkat Array”.
Next, the team tried to figure out where the megamaser came from. Fortunately, the portion of the sky explored by the LADUMA team had been observed using X-rays, optical light & infrared, making-it easy to spot the object’s host galaxy.
But their work continues, as the celestial object still has many mysteries to unravel. “We have already planned follow-up observations of megamaser, and as LADUMA progresses we will make many more discoveries,” concluded Glowacki.