The Indian astronomers made a landmark discovery of what is believed to be one of the farthest star galaxies in the universe. The discovery was made using India’s first multi-wavelength space observatory, AstroSat. The galaxy, called AUDFs01, was observed through extreme emission of UV light and is said to be 9.3 billion light years away from our planet.
As per the official government report, the galaxy is located in a small patch of space called Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) that includes several Hubble observations captured in the past decade. XDF is a small area in the Fornax constellation and is the deepest image in the universe.
The milestone discovery was led by an international team headed by Dr. Kanak Shah at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, India. A detailed report has been published in the journal Nature Astronomy. Talking about the importance of the discovery, Dr. Somak Raychaudhury stated:
[/su_quote] This is a very important clue to how the dark ages of the Universe ended and there was light in the Universe. We need to know when this started, but it has been very hard to find the earliest sources of light. I am very proud that my colleagues have made such an important discovery. [/su_quote]
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minster of State of Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, congratulated the research team for the endeavour and called it a matter of pride that Indian scientists led such an important discovery. He stated that through this discovery, India’s potential has elevated to higher levels where Indian researchers are now leading space discoveries.
Another proud moment for the Indian scientists was when officials from NASA congratulated India on this landmark achievement. Felcia Chou, NASA HQ Spokesperson and Public Affairs Officer, stated that “science is a collaborative effort around the world & discoveries like these help further humankind’s understanding of where we come from, where are we going, & are we alone.”
AstroSat is India’s first multi-wave space observatory that seeks to push exploration of the universe. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the mission on 28th September 2015. AstroSat is a collaborative effort of IUCAA and ISRO.
According to a report from ISRO, one of the peculiar features of AstroSat observatory is that it allows multi-wavelength observations of a multitude of astronomical objects using a single satellite. The primary objectives of the mission includes conducting a deep field survey of the universe in the ultraviolet region.