A new study by astrophysicists at the University of Minnesota shows that high-energy light from small galaxies may have played a key role in the early evolution of the Universe. The research provides insight into how the universe was reionized, a problem astronomers have been trying to solve for years.
The research is published in The astrophysical journal, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of astrophysics and astronomy.
After the Big Bang, when the Universe formed billions of years ago, it was in an ionized state. This means that electrons and protons floated freely in space. As the Universe grew and began to cool, it shifted to a neutral state when protons and electrons combined into atoms, similar to the condensation of water vapor into a cloud.
Now, however, scientists have observed that the Universe is back in an ionized state. Understanding how this happened is a major endeavor in astronomy. Astronomers have speculated that reionization energy must come from the galaxies themselves. But it is incredibly difficult for enough high-energy light to escape from a galaxy due to the hydrogen clouds within it which absorb light, just as the clouds in Earth’s atmosphere absorb the light. sunlight on an overcast day.
Astrophysicists at the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics at the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota may have found the answer to this problem. Using data from the Gemini Telescope, the researchers observed the very first galaxy in a “blown” state, meaning the hydrogen clouds were removed, allowing high-energy light to escape. Scientists suspect that the explosion was caused by numerous supernovas, or dying stars, exploding in a short period of time.
“Star formation can be thought of as balloon inflation,” explained Nathan Eggen, the lead author of the article who recently received his master’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Minnesota. “If, however, the star formation was more intense, then there would be a break or a hole in the surface of the balloon to let out some of that energy. In the case of this galaxy, the star formation was so powerful. that the balloon was torn to pieces, completely blown away by the wind. “
The galaxy, named Pox 186, is so small that it could fit inside the Milky Way. Researchers suspect that its compact size, coupled with its large population of stars – which is 100,000 times the mass of the sun – made blast possible.
The results confirm that a boost is possible, reinforcing the idea that small galaxies were primarily responsible for the reionization of the Universe and giving more information on how the Universe came to be what it is. today.
“There are a lot of science scenarios where you theorize that something should be, and you can’t actually find it,” Eggen said. “So getting observational confirmation that this sort of thing can happen is really important. If this scenario is possible, it means that there are other galaxies that have also existed in explosive states in the past. the consequences of this Blow-Away gives a direct glimpse into the impacts blow-aways would have had during the reionization process. “
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