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Galaxy - Pox 186 and Gemini Telescope

Galaxy - Pox 186 and Gemini Telescope

CONTEXT:

  • A new study shows that high-energy light from small galaxies may have played a key role in the early evolution of the Universe.

Reionization of Universe:

  • Reionization of Universe: The research gives insight into how the Universe became reionized, a problem that astronomers have been trying to solve for years.

Big Bang, Universe and Ionization:

  • After the Big Bang, when the Universe was formed billions of years ago, it was in an ionized state. This means that the electrons and protons floated freely throughout space.

  • As the Universe expanded and started cooling down, it changed to a neutral state when the protons and electrons combined into atoms, akin to water vapor condensing into a cloud.

  • Now however, scientists have observed that the Universe is back in an ionized state. A major endeavor in astronomy is figuring out how this happened.

  • Energy from Galaxy: Astronomers have theorized that the energy for reionization must have come from galaxies themselves.

  • Hydrogen cloud: But, it's incredibly hard for enough high energy light to escape a galaxy due to hydrogen clouds within it that absorb the light, much like clouds in the Earth's atmosphere absorb sunlight on an overcast day.

Galaxy - Pox 186 and "blow-away" state:

  • Astrophysicists may have found the answer to that problem. Using data from the Gemini telescope, the researchers have observed the first ever galaxy in a "blow-away" state.

  • It means that the hydrogen clouds have been removed, allowing the high energy light to escape.

  • The scientists suspect that the blow-away was caused by many supernovas, or dying stars, exploding in a short period of time.

  • The galaxy, named Pox 186, is so small that it could fit inside the Milky Way.

  • The researchers suspect that its compact size, coupled with its large population of stars -- which amount to a hundred thousand times the mass of the sun -- made the blow-away possible.

  • The findings confirm that a blow-away is possible, furthering the idea that small galaxies were primarily responsible for the reionization of the Universe and giving more insight into how the Universe became what it is today.

Gemini telescope:

Gemini Observatory - Wikipedia

  • The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet.

  • Gemini Observatory’s telescopes can collectively access the entire sky.

  • Locations: On mountains in Hawai and Chile.

  • They are currently among the largest and most advanced optical/infrared telescopes available to astronomers.

  • Mission: To advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

  • Gemini was built and is operated by a partnership of five countries including the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Korea.

  • These Participants and the University of Hawaii, which has regular access to Gemini, each maintain a “National Gemini Office” to support their local users.

SOURCE: The Hindu