Astronomers Have Detected Oxygen outside the Planets
Editorials News | Mar-02-2020
Oxygen along with helium, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe for the survival of human beings on Earth.
After decades of the hunt, the astronomers have identified molecular oxygen in a galaxy outside the Milky Way. This has happened for the first time by the team of astronomers at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, led by Junzhi Wang, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
By analyzing light waves that had reached Earth from Markarian 231, a galaxy around 581 million light-years away, the team identified the presence of molecular oxygen.
According to a report in vice, traditionally it is difficult to identify to get accurate light wave readings from distant galaxies as there is the presence of oxygen in our atmosphere, along with other gases. It is unfeasible to get accurate readings as those light waves are typically absorbed or redirected by the various gas elements contained in our atmosphere.
Quasi Stellar Object (QSO), from which the light waves from Markarian 231, came from. A star-like appearance but emits light that’s been red-shifted, traveling at a lower wave frequency than conventional is a QSO. As the reading light emits from the QSO, therefore it has a lower wave frequency than conventional which allowed them to pass through Earth’s atmosphere without any distorting effects.
The Northern Extended Millimeter Array telescope in the French Alps and the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Granada, Spain, at the two different locations the light readings were taken.
As so far been observed in the Milky Way, the team estimates there could be more than 100 times as much as oxygen in Markarian 231 galaxy.
The Rho Ophiuchi cloud and the Orion nebula are the two locations in the Milky Way where molecular oxygen has been detected, over the last 20 years.
The team compared the data with past detection of the oxygen molecules, through this observation and has emphasized that the amount of oxygen molecules present in Markarian 231 is around 100 times higher than that found in Orion. Apart from this, evidence suggests that the galaxy has a higher abundance of oxygen compared to hydrogen.
By: Suvarna Gupta
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