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Research team of Riken, others discover cosmic web

  • October 4, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 2:05 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 4 (Jiji Press)–A research team of members mainly from Japanese government-affiliated research institute Riken and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has discovered a structure of hydrogen gas that links galaxies and black holes located 11.5 billion light years away.

The team has said that its findings are an achievement that will lead to a breakthrough in understanding the growth process of galaxies and black holes.

A paper on the findings was included in the U.S. journal Science on Thursday.

In an accepted theory, hydrogen gas is thought to have created the structure, or cosmic web, and the web provides galaxies and black holes that formed along the structure with hydrogen, which serves as an ingredient for growth, in the early universe over 10 billion years ago.

As the light emitted from the structure is extremely weak, it was difficult for researchers to actually observe the cosmic web up until now.

Using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii of the NAOJ, Hideki Umehata, a special postdoctoral researcher at Riken, and others from the research team observed an area in which several galaxies gather some 11.5 billion light years away, located in the direction of the Aquarius constellation.

Also using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, the team found a total of 18 galaxies and black holes in the area, measuring 4.5 million light years long and 3 million light years wide.

The team discovered that all 18 galaxies and black holes were located along strips of hydrogen gas, after inspecting the distribution of such gas using the Very Large Telescope in Chile.

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