MeerKAT Telescope Galactic Space Laser Megamaser 5-Billion Light Years Earth
The MeerKAT telescope in South Africa has detected a powerful galactic space laser, called a ‘megamaser’, that is located approximately five billion light years from Earth. This discovery was made by an international team of astronomers led by Dr Marcin Glowacki, and what may surprise most is that the light from the megamaser has traveled 58 thousand billion billion (58 followed by 21 zeros) kilometers to Earth. Read more for additional information.

This megamaser was spotted on the first night of a survey that involved over 3,000 hours of observations by the MeerKAT telescope, which is being used to observe narrow regions of the sky extremely deeply and will measure atomic hydrogen in galaxies from the distant past to current day. The combination of studying both hydroxl masers as well as hydrogen will aid astronomers in better understanding how the universe evolved over time.

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When galaxies collide, the gas they contain becomes extremely dense and can trigger concentrated beams of light to shoot out. This is the first hydroxyl megamaser of its kind to be observed by MeerKAT and the most distant seen by any telescope to date,” said Dr Glowacki, Astronomer Based at the Curtin University node of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia.

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