It may be the most distant Megamaser ever detected.
When Dr. Marcin Glowacki, who previously worked at the Inter-University Institute for Data-Intensive Astronomy and the University of Western Cape in South Africa made this discovery from 5 billion light-years away according to a statement released today
The international team led by him has been able to dig deep into galactic dust clouds with their telescopes making them one step closer to understanding how galaxies form stars.
We have discovered the most distant megamaser! Its light has traveled 58 thousand billion kilometers to Earth. This laser is so powerful that it can be seen across space and time, which means we must have been looking at early galaxies when this object cut through their gas clouds billions of years ago
The astronomers using the MeerKAT telescope made an incredible discovery: They found a “megamaser” – one with 1 million times more energy than what’s usually seen in these systems.”
What the heck is a mega laser? It’s an intense burst of energy that occurs when two galaxies collide.
“The most distant hydroxyl megamaser ever seen by a telescope has been confirmed with just one night’s worth of observations,” said Dr. Glowacki. “This is impressive considering that this phenomenon was only first discovered last year and its detection here marks the beginning of even more exciting discoveries!”
With just one night of observations, the researchers were able to find an object that had never been seen before. They named this newfound record-breaking phenomenon ‘Nkalakatha’—a Zulu word meaning “big boss” and emphasized how impressive it is by making its description sound like something out a pulp story or horror movie!
For one night, we recorded everything we saw.
Though LADUMA is a project currently being undertaken by Dr. Glowacki and his team, it has already achieved record-breaking status with its sensitivity for surveying distant objects in space–especially megamasers such as this one! The full 3000+ hour survey from MeerKAT will make them the most sensitive array ever built on Earth or elsewhere.”
“What are you waiting for?” The voice sounded again, more urgently this time. “We’ve located the source of that signal!”
“Where?” asked a researcher from their lab bench at detector headquarters.”I’ll send coordinates once we have them”, he replied while pulling up charts on-screen before him which showed where various objects lie in space–galaxies mostly but also some galaxy clusters and supernovae sites too!
With the help of LADUMA, we will continue to make many more discoveries about megamasers.
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