About 400,000 years after the universe was produced started a period called “The Epoch of Reionization.”
During this time, the once hotter universe began to matter and cool clumped together, forming the very first stars and galaxies. As these stars and galaxies emerged, their energy warmed the surrounding environment, reionizing some of the remaining hydrogen in deep space.
The universes reionization is well known, but identifying how it happened has been challenging. To read more, astronomers have peered beyond our Milky Way galaxy for ideas. In a new study, astronomers at the University of Iowa identified a source in a suite of galaxies called Lyman continuum galaxies that might hold clues about how deep space was reionized.
In the research study, the Iowa astronomers determined a black hole, a million times as intense as our sun, that might have resembled the sources that powered deep spaces reionization. That great void, the astronomers report from observations made in February 2021 with NASAs flagship Chandra X-ray observatory, is effective enough to punch channels in its respective galaxy, permitting ultraviolet photons to escape and be observed.
” The implication is that outflows from great voids may be essential to allow escape of the ultraviolet radiation from galaxies that reionized the intergalactic medium,” says Phil Kaaret, teacher and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the studys corresponding author.
” We cant yet see the sources that really powered the universes reionization because they are too far away,” Kaaret says. “We looked at a close-by galaxy with properties similar to the galaxies that formed in the early universe. One of the primary reasons that the James Webb Space Telescope was developed was to attempt to see the galaxies hosting the sources that really powered deep spaces reionization.”
Recommendation: “Rapid turn-on of a luminous X-ray source in the candidate Lyman continuum producing galaxy Tol 0440-381” by P Kaaret, J Bluem and A H Prestwich, 14 December 2021, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.DOI: 10.1093/ mnrasl/slab127.
Jesse Bluem, a graduate research study assistant at Iowa, and Andrea Prestwich, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, are co-authors.