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Dr Vithal Tilvi, the founder of the farthest group of galaxies

January 8, 2020

Indian-American astronomer Dr Vithal Tilvi along with his team of NASA astronomers made a breakthrough discovery by finding the farthest group of galaxies to have ever been sighted named ‘EGS77’. It is basically a trio of galaxies, which is 13 billion years away from Earth. The galaxies dates to a time when the universe with 680 mn years old or less than 5% of its current age, which is 13.8 billion years.

In 2013, Tilvi discovered the farthest single galaxy ever sighted by astronomers. Now, after four years of research, he’s found that there’s, in fact, an entire group of galaxies. The discovery of EGS77 is significant as it will help researchers study how the universe was born by studying the chemicals present in the newly-found group of galaxies.

According to NASA, “The young universe was filled with hydrogen atoms, which so attenuate ultraviolet light that they block our view of early galaxies. EGS77 is the first galaxy group caught in the act of clearing out this cosmic fog.”

Following the exploration, Tilvi said, “Intense light from galaxies can ionize the surrounding hydrogen gas, forming bubbles that allow starlight to travel freely. EGS77 has formed a large bubble that allows its light to travel to Earth without much attenuation. Eventually, bubbles like these grew around all galaxies and filled intergalactic space, reionizing the universe and clearing the way for light to travel across the cosmos.”

About Dr Vithal Tilvi:

Born in Goa, Maharastra, Tilvi completed his post-graduation at Goa University and MS in physics from Michigan Technological University. He is currently the project leader for a NASA funded project to study a black hole that he discovered back in 2017, using observations taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

He is also part of NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) team, which is going to be launched in 2025. Besides, he is a visiting researcher at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and contributes to the State Higher Council of the Government of Goa as a professor of research, development, and innovation.

Recommended: Careers Watch- Astronomy

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