An X-ray detection of star formation in a strongly lensed galaxy

Credits: Bayliss et al. 2019 doi: 10.1038/s41550-019-0888-7

Astronomers reported an X-ray detection of star formation in a highly magnified, strongly lensed galaxy. The system is a low-mass, low-metallicity starburst with increased X-ray emission and is an infant galaxy! Specifically, it was formed when our universe was less than four billion years old. Study of the system sheds light on our understanding of how the X-ray emission from stellar populations in the first generation of galaxies, affects the reionization of the Universe!!

Our knowledge of how stars and galaxies formed during the first billion years after the Big Bang (~5 billion years) has been enriched thanks to gravitational lensing. The basis of this phenomenon is the magnification of a distant source by intervening masses. In other words, these masses act as huge cosmic telescopes! Previous studies have used this effect to investigate the distant Universe at different wavelengths (i.e. ultra-violet, optical, infrared), never at X-rays though. The recent work, is the first in the literature to study how galaxy clusters can magnify an X-ray source!

The first author of the relevant article says: “This galaxy is similar to the very first galaxies that formed in the universe … the kind of which no one has ever seen in X-ray in the distant universe before.”

Sources: Nature Astronomy& Sci News