Japan's Subaru Telescope Found a New Galaxy with Extremely Low Oxygen

by admin August 1, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Astronomers discovered a new galaxy with an extremely low oxygen abundance of 1.6% solar abundance.

The new findings resulted from merged data captured by the Subaru Telescope and machine learning, according to Eureka Alert. The measured oxygen abundance suggests that most of the stars in this galaxy formed very recently.

Subaru Telescope is an 8.2-meter optical-infrared telescope located at the summit of Maunakea, Hawaii, operated by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences’ National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). An international research team uses the wide-field imaging data taken by the Subaru to study rare galaxies in the early formation stage.

Japan’s Subaru Telescope Found a New Galaxy with Extremely Low Oxygen

(Photo : NAOJ/Kojima et al./Subaru Telescope)
Image of HSC J1631+4426 discovered by the international team with the Subaru Telescope. HSC J1631+4426 broke the record for the lowest oxygen abundance.

According to the Subaru Telescope website, since most galaxies in the universe are already mature, astronomers are excited to see galaxies in the early formation stage. “To find the very faint, rare galaxies, deep, wide-field data taken with the Subaru Telescope was indispensable,” said Dr. Takashi Kojima, who leads the research team.

Finding galaxies in the early stage of formation from the wide-field data is difficult because it includes up to 40 million objects. With that, the research team developed a new machine learning method to find galaxies from a vast amount of data. Thus, they created a computer that was repeatedly taught to learn the galaxy colors from theoretical models and only select those galaxies in the early stage of formation.

Among the findings, the research team particularly took note of two interesting indications: the rarity of galaxies at an early stage and the possibility of having a new-born galaxy. Primarily, the discovery of HSC J1631+4426 galaxy supports the standard cosmology suggesting that the Milky Way’s matter density rapidly drops as its expansion accelerates.

However, matter does not assemble by gravity in the future universe with rapid expansion–so the HSC J1631+4426 galaxy may be the last generation galaxy in cosmic history.

On Aug. 3, the research findings will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

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HSC J1631+4426, an infant galaxy

The HSC J1631+4426 galaxy is one of the 27 galaxies selected by the computer’s artificial intelligence. After follow-up observations, researchers found that it is about 430 million light-years away in Hercules constellation.