Radio signal from a distant galaxy traced by McGill University. Here’s how gravitational lensing helped Indian and Montreal researchers!

Radio signal from a distant galaxy tracked by McGill University! Here’s how gravitational lensing helped researchers in India and Montreal!

Humans have landed on the moon and many other planets in the solar system, making the impossible return almost possible. While humanity is proud of its achievements in the space world, some mysteries of the universe still linger, increasing humanity’s thirst for these answers. Rightly so, we humans are not yet satisfied with what we know, and we are committed to continuing to be on this quest to peer into the unknown world.

Among all these mysteries of the universe, one such question that bothers many great thinkers and astronomers is the formation of stars.

Radio signals from nearby galaxies have been used to some extent to answer this question. However, getting these signals from more distant galaxies becomes almost impossible, as radio signals become weaker in distant galaxies.

Here comes the big news!

Researchers from India and Montreal joined hands to capture a radio signal from a galaxy. What’s special about this galaxy is that it’s the most distant galaxy so far. It is at a wavelength of 21 cm line. This huge discovery has led astronomers to step into some of the world’s most elusive mysteries.

What’s so special about McGill University astronomers tracking the radio signal from a distant galaxy?

Image source: Deccan Herald

  • A the radio signal is picked up at a line 21 cm from the most distant galaxy.
  • It is the first time that such a radio signal emanating from atomic hydrogen has been detected at an extremely large distance.
  • The giant Metrewave radio telescope in Pune, India was created to be used.
  • The tracing opened the way for studies on the composition of distant galaxies.
  • The tracing was made possible by a natural phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
  • The most distant galaxy captured by the 21 cm emission so far was at redshift z=0.376.

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For the first time, researchers have been able to detect the radio signal from a distant star-forming galaxy and record the composition of the galaxy’s gas. The galaxy is called SDSSJ0826+5630.

Researchers from India and Montreal observed that the atomic mass of the gas content of this galaxy is about twice the mass of the stars that are visible to us.

When the universe was only about 4.9 billion years old, this galaxy’s signal was emitted. Thus, this made it possible for researchers to glimpse the secrets of the early universe.

Arnab Chakraborty, a postdoctoral researcher in cosmology at McGill, puts it right, saying: “It’s the equivalent of looking back in time 8.8 billion years.”

So what is gravitational lensing, after all?

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Image source: ThoughtCo

As mentioned above, gravitational lensing is a natural phenomenon. It occurs when a large amount of matter, such as a cluster of galaxies, forms a gravitational field that distorts and magnifies the light coming from distant galaxies behind it, however, in the same line of sight. The gravitational lensing effect is similar to looking through a giant magnifying glass.

Nirupama Roy, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science, says: “Gravitational lensing magnifies the signal coming from a distant object to help us look at the early universe. In this specific case, the signal is bent by the presence of another massive body, another galaxy, between the target and the observer. This effectively magnifies the signal by a factor of 30, allowing the telescope to pick it up.”

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What do researchers have to say about this radio signal detection?


Researchers are excited about the opportunities that this tracking of the radio signal has opened up. A post-doctoral researcher at McGill University, Canada, Arnab Chakraborty says: “A galaxy emits different types of radio signals. Until now, it has only been possible to pick up this particular signal from a nearby galaxy, limiting our knowledge to those galaxies closer to Earth.”

“But thanks to the help of a natural phenomenon called gravitational lensing, we can pick up a faint signal from a record distance. This will help us understand the composition of galaxies at much greater distances from Earth. the researcher added.

IISc stated that the astronomical distance at which the radio signal was detected is “the biggest ever by a wide margin”.

Here’s what McGill University tweeted!

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