For the first time, scientists found oxygen emissions outside the Milky Way. Junzhi Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a new paper that brings proof of the discovery.
The guilty party is Markarian 231, and the instrument proving is IRAM 30-meter radio telescope in Spain and the Northern Extended Millimeter Array. Light waves from the Markarian 231 passed through Earth’s atmosphere without being distorted due to their low frequency. This is how Markarian’s oxygen could be identified.
The galaxy was kept under surveillance for four days, and the data proved the spectral signature of oxygen detected at 32,615 light-years away from the center of the galaxy. Markarian is a type of galaxy, whose nucleus has excessive amounts of ultraviolet emissions compared with other galaxies.
Oxygen outside the Milky Way is too much for humans to breathe it
Markarian 231 is a galaxy located about 581 million light-years away from Earth. It was discovered in 1969 as part of a search of galaxies with strong ultraviolet radiation. It contains a quasar, and the powerful active galactic nucleus present in the center of the galaxy might be a supermassive binary black hole.
Emissions of oxygen have been previously found, but only in the Milky Way: Rho Ophiuchi cloud and the Orion nebula. But Markarian 231 has 100 times the amount of oxygen identified in the Milky Way. It looks like the high amount of oxygen there makes it impossible for life to thrive.
It’s tricky. We are searching for places in the Universe where there might be life, so we trace oxygen. But along with the oxygen, our organism also needs carbon dioxide and nitrogen. And in specific amounts. Too much oxygen can be fatal for the human lungs and blood. They can’t take it without the nitrogen and carbon dioxide, so oxygen becomes toxic. We have to be satisfied with what we have for now.