Relic of a cloud of gas, orphaned after the Big Bang, were found in the distant universe, astronomers using the most powerful optical telescope in the world.
The discovery of a rare fossil, led by graduate student Fred Robert and Professor Michael Murphy, Swinburne University of Technology, offers new information about how the first galaxies in the universe formed.
"Everywhere we look, the gas in the Universe is polluted wastewater with heavy elements from stars exploding," says Mr. Robert. "But this particular cloud seems to be intact, unpolluted stars even 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.
"If he has any heavy elements at all, it should be less than 1/10000th the proportions we see in our Sun. This is an extremely low – the most convincing explanation to the & # 39 is that it is a real relic of the Big Bang. "
The researchers used double Swinburne 10-meter telescopes in W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawai & # 39; i observe spectrum quasar behind a gas cloud. Quasar – bright luminescence material which enters the superheavy black hole – to provide a source of light which can be seen against a spectral shadow hydrogen in the gas cloud.
"We are committed quasars, where previous researchers only saw the shadow of the hydrogen instead of heavy elements in the spectra of lower quality," says Mr. Robert. "This allowed us to find such a rare fossil fast with precious time on the Keck telescope."
Professor Murphy says that now it is possible to inspect the fossil relics of the Big Bang.
"It will tell exactly how rare they are and help us to understand how some of the gas formed stars and galaxies in the early Universe, and why some of them did not."
Co-authors of the study, Professor John O & # 39; Peace, a former college professor Michael and Michele Fumagalli, Durham University, found only two other fossil cloud, known in 2011.
"It was a fluke discovery, and we thought they were the tip of the iceberg. But no one has found anything like that – they obviously are very rare and hard to see. Now, it's fantastic, finally open one systematically, "says Professor About & # 39; World.
Paper, "Investigation of new sources apparently, metal-free gas cloud at r = 4.4," to be published Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1812.05098.
The study was funded by a grant from Discovery Project The Australian Research Council and the contribution of Professor FUMAGALLI was partially funded by a grant from the European Research Council. Professor O & # 39; Peace Now chief researcher at the Observatory VM Keck.