Oxygen that existed a mere 700 million years after the Big Bang has been detected in the glow of a distant galaxy by ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Astronomers from Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and European Southern Observatory, ESO, observed the gas of life in the galaxy known as SXDF-NB1006-2. Seeking heavy elements in the early universe will help us understand star formation, explains lead author Akio Inoue of Osaka Sangyo University. It also hints at how galaxies formed at that time and perhaps what caused the cosmic reionization.
Across the universe