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The FAST telescope detects extragalactic neutral hydrogen



In a significant astronomical discovery, scientists first detected the emission of the neutral hydrogen line from extragalactic galaxies, with the help of the world’s largest radio telescope, which could help enrich understanding of dark matter.

An international team led by the Center for Astronomy of South America under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) worked on the research, analyzing the data obtained by the five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST).

The study of extragalactic detection of neutral hydrogen is one of the most important scientific objectives of the gigantic telescope. Scientists detected neutral hydrogen emission from three extragalactic galaxies using the 1

9-beam FAST receiver with only five minutes of exposure. This detection shows the extraordinary sensitivity of the telescope.

The research findings were recently published in the international journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Letter.

Cheng Cheng, first author of the research, said that neutral hydrogen gas is the largest baryon in galaxies.

“With measurements of neutral hydrogen and carbon monoxide, scientists can estimate the dynamic mass of galaxies at different rays and can further study the distributions of baryons and dark matter,” said Cheng, also a CAS researcher.

Although scientists have obtained a significant amount of data, further observations are still needed. The team will request more FAST observation time to further study the neutral properties of hydrogen, said Cheng.

FAST is found in a naturally deep and round karst depression in the Guizhou province in southwest China. It began the formal operation on January 11, 2020, after passing a national assessment.

Dark matter is an invisible component of the universe. It is one of the greatest mysteries of modern astronomy.

(Cover image via VCG)

Source (s): Xinhua News Agency


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