Researchers could pick out supernova star explosions, collisions of galaxy clusters and active black holes Photo: OBSERVATOIRE DE PARIS - PSL/AFP
tech

Radio telescope reveals thousands of star-forming galaxies in early universe

19 Comments

The images capture drama billions of years ago in the early universe -- glinting galaxies, glowing with stars that have exploded into supernovas and blazing jets fired from black holes.

Europe's giant LOFAR radio telescope has detected stars being born in tens of thousands of distant galaxies with unprecedented precision, in a series of studies published Wednesday.

Using techniques that correspond to a very long exposure and with a field of view about 300 times the size of the full moon, scientists were able to make out galaxies like the Milky Way deep in the ancient universe.

"The light from these galaxies has been traveling for billions of years to reach the Earth; this means that we see the galaxies as they were billions of years ago, back when they were forming most of their stars," said Philip Best, of Britain's University of Edinburgh, who led the telescope's deep survey in a press release.

The LOFAR telescope combines signals from a huge network of more than 70,000 individual antennas in countries from Ireland to Poland, linked by a high-speed fiber optic network.

They are able to observe very faint and low energy light, invisible to the human eye, that is created by ultra energetic particles traveling close to the speed of light.

Researchers said this allows them to study supernova star explosions, collisions of galaxy clusters and active black holes, which accelerate these particles in shocks or jets.

By observing the same regions of sky over and over again and putting the data together to make a single very-long exposure image, the scientists were able to detect the radio glow of stars exploding.

The most distant detected objects were from when the Universe was only a billion years old. It is now about 13.8 billion years old.

"When a galaxy forms stars, lots of stars explode at the same time, which accelerates very high-energy particles, and galaxies begin to radiate," said Cyril Tasse, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory and one of the authors of the research, published in a series of papers in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Around 3 billion years after the Big Bang, he said "it really is fireworks" in the young galaxies, with a "peak of star formation and black hole activity".

The telescope focused on a wide stretch of the northern hemisphere sky, with the equivalent of an exposure time 10 times longer than the one used in the creation of its first cosmic map in 2019.

"This gives much finer results, like a photo taken in darkness where the longer your exposure, the more things you can distinguish," Tasse told AFP.

The deep images are produced by combining signals from the telescope's thousands of antennas, incorporating more than four petabytes of raw data -- equivalent to about one million DVDs.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


19 Comments
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The Universe show us how insignificant and fleeting humans on planet Earth are.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Amazing image!

"Radio telescope reveals thousands of star-forming galaxies in early Universe"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Astounding.

Main pic makes me think of Kubrick's 2001, for some reason.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If present days, Radio telescope reveals thousands of star-forming galaxies in early Universe.

How many existing galaxies have extra-terrestrial life, that encompasses advanced technology beyond our present-day comprehension?

Earth could the Simpsons of the known galaxy, to be avoided at all costs.

The reasoning why UFO take a peek but never make contact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't want to make contact either with some of the species inhabiting earth now.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

13.8 billion years, jees, thats a long time, its hard to fathom that amount of time, its just mind boggling. and credit to the boffins who thought up the concept of gathering data from lots of radio telescopes and then finding an area to all focus on. what's next i wounder? I cant believe that were the only ones out here, I am sure there are more civilisations out their.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nice article, but those pictures are obviously taken with an optical telescope, not a radio one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course, the prospect of a universe inhabited with species of all shapes and sizes is the stuff of science fiction.

They come; they view.

Even in the 21st century. It is not difficult to notice, politically, national governments continue to detest, loathe, despise each other.

Planet Earth has little or nothing to offer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All we are is dust in the solar wind.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We are rapidly losing the night sky due to artificial lights. So many people can no longer enjoy the night sky.

One joy of living in the Japan Alps was the total lack of artificial lights and being able to view amazing night skies.

We were able to enjoy and view Halley's Comit which only comes around every 75 years.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

But there are still religious medievals who think the universe just is 6000 years old..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

very cool gigantic interferometer

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Universe show us how insignificant and fleeting humans on planet Earth are.

This is where our thinking should START because it is the most glaringly obvious thing about us. The only 'part' of us of any size and consequence is our own ego when we think we are 'special'. There are an estimated 8 BILLION Sol type stars in just our Galaxy alone, among perhaps an infinite number of galaxies, and most of these stars are expected to have planets of some kind and not a few will be water rich orbs (only ~30% of Earth's surface is LAND!) and requires only that, water, and the usual minerals, and Life will appear. Life is inherent in the properties of matter. There is one thing we can say about this Universe (this Creation, if you like) from our experience here. Our Universe craves complexity. That is what LIFE is, a constant, random accumulation of information represented in physical form which consistently over time adds past experience to its structure and grows in the complexity of the behaviors it demonstrates. There would appear to be in this place no upper limit to complexity. At this time, we are very near the bottom of that spectrum being so primitive we still think we may be all there is in an infinite (at least to us) Universe. We are late to the party, actually. And we live way out here in the sticks of our Galaxy (which may be a good thing if there are those like us who actually survive long enough to reach other stars) so not real touristy plus our 'welcome' is that we shoot at UFOs as a matter of policy, like a social visit to hostile Yanamami... We are just little links in an ongoing so far ~4 Billion year struggle of Earth to produce a carrier so as to expand, as Life ALWAYS wants to do, itself out into this place, our Universe. To this point, the Earth has failed to produce such potential but HAS produced an attempt that will, itself, set off a complete reset in the products produced by the Earth's ecosphere and perhaps the next instance of a data accumulating species will be her champion and take her where she wants to go. We won't because we pray much more to Death than to Life...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And, really, there is some evidence that our Universe did not just 'spring into existence' but was BORN. Does infinite complexity fit into an infinite Universe? I suspect so... Is infinite complexity 'alive'? Hmmm... What would 'infinite complexity' look like? Perhaps like 'Creation'...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

there is some evidence that our Universe did not just 'spring into existence' but was BORN.

Really? What evidence? You stated a theory, but no evidence to support it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Strangerland

Complexity itself. It is not 'theory' but fact. We already see that as Life moves through Time, it becomes more complex both in structure and in behavior, and, at a point, we see that a second such system emerges atop the first which accumulates information and modifies its own behavior much more quickly that the genepool which supports it. At this point, that second system is still, as us, quite primitive in that it collectively cannot even see itself as it is but lives in psychotic belief systems all of which hate all of the others. Certainly there have been and now are worlds where the dominant organism did not go biologically deranged and become dominated by psychopathic parasites or become a predator upon itself, but, sadly, that is not the case on this one. We must realize that Complexity exists and will increase whether we are here to see it or not and that eventually this Complexity will become 'aware'. We cannot claim 'awareness' because what most Humans perceive as 'reality' is completely unrelated to their actual physical situation and there is no other 'reality' than physical reality. Looking at it 24/7, few Humans can see it because of the perceptual curtains and poor educations they have been subjected to in their developments so as to ensure 'less thought, more labor'. I use "born" because I see in that relentless random search by living matter to add complexity to itself as a process that will lead to 'awareness' but an unimaginably vast awareness which, I suspect, will have 'identity'. In my imagination, anything with a 'self-identity' has probably been 'born' rather than exploding out of a pointless point.

WADR (respect): Just a small correction. A "theory" sans evidence is usually called either an 'hypothesis' or 'some old guy's pot dream'...take yer pick

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I keep waiting for the day a space vehicle from Earth touches down on a distant planet or moon, unfolds its solar panels, raises its camera to take its first pictures of this moon or planet and finds, off in the distance, a space vehicle from another civilization previously unknown to Earthlings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Complexity itself.

The existence of complexity is fact, but your conclusions based on "complexity itself" are hypothesis, not fact.

I'm a scientist by education - I have a BSc. And I am personally open to the idea that the universe could have been created (though I then wonder what created the thing that created the universe), but the fact is that the idea that the universe was created is only a hypothesis. Your hypothesis not fact, and not even evidence. It is simply what humanity has always faced - a non-understanding of how it was that the universe came about. And humans have always tried to fill in the unknown with theories about gods, as a way to explain away the inexplicable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Or even better, one day one of our landers on a distant planet will be approached by someone else's rover as it makes its way across the moon or planet in question. It might even take a sample of our rover!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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