Credit By: Indy100
Scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery, confirming the existence of the largest body of water in the known universe; shockingly, it’s 12 billion years old.
Two teams of astronomers have identified the largest and most distant reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. This colossal body of water surpasses the total volume of water on Earth and is estimated to be equivalent to 140 trillion times the water in the world’s oceans.
This ancient body of water is not visible through ordinary microscopes despite its astronomical size. It encompasses a massive feeding black hole known as a quasar, situated over 12 billion light-years away.
To comprehend the sheer magnitude of this discovery, consider that the observations provided insights into a time when the universe was merely 1.6 billion years old. The scale of this cosmic reservoir challenges our understanding of water’s prevalence in the early stages of the universe.
Water Across the Cosmos
Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, emphasized the significance of this finding, stating, “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”
Quasars and Celestial Phenomena
Quasars, characterized by their massive nature and intense energy emissions, play a central role in this discovery. These celestial objects, featuring supermassive black holes at their cores, emit electromagnetic radiation across the entire spectrum as gas and dust fall into the black hole.
APM 08279+5255: A Cosmic Marvel
Both groups of astronomers focused their studies on a specific quasar named APM 08279+5255, housing a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and radiating energy equivalent to a thousand trillion suns.
Spectral Signatures and Unprecedented Insights
By detecting several spectral signatures, Bradford’s team gleaned more information about the water, including its staggering mass. This groundbreaking revelation challenges prior assumptions, as astronomers had never found water vapor in the early universe before.
Future Insights and Telescopic Ambitions
Astronomers aspire to delve deeper into the mysteries of the distant universe, prompting discussions about constructing a 25-meter telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Named the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST), this initiative aims to provide unprecedented insights into the cosmos.
Despite the ambitious plans, the telescope’s progress has been hindered by a lack of funding, underscoring the challenges of exploring the cosmic wonders that lie beyond our world.
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