Indian Telescope Discovers Distant Radio Galaxy

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Another reason to be proud about India, an Indian Telescope GMRT (Giant Meter-wave Radio Telescope) situated in Khodad near Pune discovered a galaxy from a time when the universe was only seven percent of its current age. This galaxy is located at a distance of 12 billion light years away.

The distance of this galaxy was determined using Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. This 12 billion light year distance means that galaxy looked like this 12 billion light year prior. This means we are looking at a galaxy when universe was only a billion-year-old. It is surprising to see how these galaxies have built up their mass in such a short period of time.

What is GMRT?

GMRT is an array of 30 fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45m in diameter, observing at meter wavelengths. Operated by national center for radio astrophysics, which is a part of Tata institute of Fundamental Research. GMRT was the world’s largest interferometric array offering a baseline of up to 25 Km when it was built.

Radio galaxies

Radio galaxies are very rare objects in the universe, and seeing such object at early history of universe is astonishing. These bright radio galaxies have supermassive black holes, which is another astonishing thing, because the time for these supermassive black holes to form and grow must have been very short.

These galaxies with supermassive black hole in the center activates accretes gas and dust from its surroundings. This activity initiates the launch of high-energy jet streams, which are capable of accelerating charged particles around the supermassive black hole to almost the speed of light. These jets are very clearly observed at radio wavelengths.

Studying these early black holes would help us understand the formation of primordial black holes. Also studying these radio galaxies which were formed during early age of universe, helps astronomers to understand the evolution of galaxies.


Also published on Medium.