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Penemuan Fosil Big Bang

Dengan menggunakan teleskop optik di W. M. Keck Observatory, Maunake, Hawaii (Amerika Serikat), kandidat doktor bidang Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS, Fred Robert, dan koleganya pada Swinburne University of Technology, menemukan relik awan gas, sisa Big Bang alam semesta. Hasil riset ini memberi informasi baru tentang tahap awal galaksi-galaksi terbentuk di alam semesta (W. M. Keck Observatory, 18/12/2018).

“Everywhere we look, the gas in the universe is polluted by waste heavy elements from exploding stars. But this particular cloud seems pristine, unpolluted by stars even 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang. If it has any heavy elements at all, it must be less than 1/10,000th of the proportion we see in our Sun. This is extremely low; the most compelling explanation is that it's a true relic of the Big Bang,” ungkap Fred Robert (Science Daily, 18/12/2018).

Dengan Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) dan High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), tim ahli mengobservasi spektrum quasar di balik awan gas jagad-raya sangat jauh. “We targeted quasars where previous researchers had only seen shadows from hydrogen and not from heavy elements in lower-quality spectra. This allowed us to discover such a rare fossil quickly with the precious time on Keck Observatory's twin telescopes,” ungkap Fred Robert (W. M. Keck Observatory, 18/12/2018).

Riset itu didanai oleh hibah Australian Research Council Discovery Project dan hibah khusus dari European Research Council  untuk Profesor Fumagalli. Hasil riset itu dirilis oleh jurnal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (P. Frédéric Robert, Michael T. Murphy, John M. O'Meara, Neil H. M. Crighton, Michele Fumagalli. “Exploring the origins of a new, apparently metal-free gas cloud at z = 4.4.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2018).

“It's now possible to survey for these fossil relics of the Big Bang. That will tell us exactly how rare they are and help us understand how some gas formed stars and galaxies in the early universe, and why some didn't,” ungkap Profesor Michael Murphy dari Swinburne University of Technology. (EarthSky, 23/12/2018). 

Oleh: Servas Pandur