Scientists have discovered a galaxy five billion light-years away, using CSIRO’s newest radio telescope, the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the radio-quiet Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in remote Western Australia.
The team led by CSIRO’s Dr James Allison used a special technique to detect a change in radio waves coming from within the bright centre of the galaxy PKS B1740-517, located near the Ara constellation. The five-billion-year-old radio emission was stamped with the ‘imprint’ of hydrogen gas it had travelled through on its way to Earth. The gas absorbs some of the emission, creating a tiny dip in the signal.
AARNet is proud to support CSIRO and the radio-astronomy research community by providing data links between instruments such as the ASKAP telescope and high-performance computing facilities. This discovery is the first of many scientific outcomes for the ASKAP project, which AARNet has been supporting for some time.
The researchers will now use the absorption technique with ASKAP to find hundreds of galaxies that are up to ten billion light years away and determine how much hydrogen gas they contain.
“These latest research findings are demonstrating that ASKAP can do what other telescopes can’t,” Dr Allison said.
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