New York: In an effort to better understand how the universe evolved, a study co-authored by an Indian-origin scientist used a method to measure radiation leaks in large, star-forming galaxies in the universe.
The researchers used the radiation leak measurement method to help find the ideal star-forming galaxy that contained holes in its cold gas cover.
"The star forming regions in galaxies are covered with cold gases so the radiation cannot come out. If we can find out how the radiation gets out of the galaxy, we can learn what mechanisms ionised the universe," said Sanchayeeta Borthakur from the John Hopkins University in the US.
The researchers noted that an indicator used for studying star-forming galaxies that leak radiation, is also an effective measurement tool for other scientists to use.
Studying the radiation that seeps through the holes in its cold gas cover has been an ongoing conundrum for scientists for years.
Consisting of thick, dense cold gas, the cover stretches across a galaxy like a blanket.
While an effective tool for helping make stars, this cover presents a challenge for astrophysicists hoping to learn how the radiation that stars produce could be used in the ionisation process.
Scientists have been on a quest to find just the right galaxy with this character trait for decades.
Borthakur said scientists know that these leaky galaxies exist, but finding one has been a problem.
Using observations made with the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope, the research team found the right galaxy to study.
In the study, the researchers credit a combination of unusually strong winds, intense radiation and a massive, highly star-forming galaxy for proving the validity of the indicator.
"This method first created by study co-author Timothy Heckman in 2001 can sort out what gas is present and also accurately measure the percentage of holes in the gas cover," Borthakur noted.
The study appeared in the journal Science.