Astronomers have discovered a powerful space laser emitted from a distant galaxy.
The beam of radio waves is what scientists call a megamaser, and it’s the farthest yet, at a distance of 5 billion light-years from Earth.
It was discovered by an international team of scientists using the Meerkat telescope in South Africa, a radio telescope consisting of 64 antennas.
Massive waves occur naturally from radio-wavelength lasers that can help shine light on galactic collisions.
Study co-author Jeremy Darling, from the University of Colorado, said: ‘Magazers act like flashing lights that say, ‘Here galaxies collide that make new stars and fuel supermassive black holes.’
When galaxies merge, the gas they contain becomes very dense, producing a specific radio signal known as a maser.
Megamasers are powerful nursing aids produced during the collision of massive galaxies, like beams from cosmic beacons.
In a paper published last week, Darling and his colleagues report the discovery of the largest giant maser to date.
To reflect the state of the record, the team named the space laser Nkalakatha – a word from isiZulu meaning “Great Commander”.
One of the most powerful ultrasound determinants known in OH, the Nkalakatha is the largest megamaser of its kind ever discovered, so it really is a ‘Big Chief,’ said Andrew Baker, co-author of the study and an astronomer at Rutgers University.
“We expect it to be the first of many OH [hydroxyl] The megamaser is to be discovered as the project progresses.”
Instead of emitting visible light, the maser emits radio waves and microwaves that are amplified by cosmic forces.
Once the team proved they had a Megazer in their hands, they set out in search of the galaxy it came from.
They found that the Nacalacatha galaxy is about seven billion light-years away and has a long tail on one side that can be seen in radio waves.
The light was emitted from the massive mass about five billion years ago, when the universe was only two-thirds old.
The main goal of the MeerKAT project is to use observations of gas in distant galaxies to understand how galaxies have evolved over the past nine billion years.
Because these radio signals are weak, the researchers want to get thousands of hours of observations using MeerKAT to detect them.
Data is crushed by powerful computers to help discover signs of interesting distant and ancient objects.
“It is possible that Meerkat has doubled the known number of these rare phenomena,” Darling said.
“It has been thought that galaxies have merged quite a lot in the past, and the newly discovered giant megaphones in OH will allow us to test this hypothesis.”
This story originally appeared on the sun Reproduced here with permission.