An international team of astronomers, from the Netherlands, Italy, Brazil and the United Kingdom, have discovered the most distant radio galaxy ever observed. The galaxy, which is located at a distance of 12 billion light years away, was found using the Giant Meter-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune. The astronomers then used Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to measure the redshift of the galaxy's light. The measurement of the redshift helps in determining how far away, and hence how old, the galaxy is.
Giant Meter-wave Radio Telescope or GMRT consists of 30 fully steerable gigantic parabolic dishes of 45m diameter each spread over distances of up to 25 km. National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, operate GMRT.
According to the study appearing in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the radio galaxy - which has been named TGSS J1530+1049 - has a redshift of z-5.72. This indicated that it's 12 billion light years away which means that the light from this galaxy is almost 12 billion years old. So the radio galaxy came into existence when the universe was only a billion years old - just seven percent of its current age.
"It is very surprising how these galaxies have built up their mass in such a short period of time," said Aayush Saxena from Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands.
"Bright radio galaxies harbour supermassive black holes. It is amazing to find such objects as early in the history of the universe; the time for these supermassive black holes to form and grow must have been very short," said Huub Rottgering, also from Leiden Observatory.
Radio galaxies are very rare objects in the universe and its existence has surprised astronomers. Discovery of such galaxies is a rare phenomenon and is extremely important for understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies, researchers said.