A team of astronomers at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory discovered molecular oxygen in a galaxy outside the Milky Way.
The team under the supervision of Junzhi Wang analyzed light waves that had reached Earth from Markarian 231, a galaxy about 581 million light years away. The presence of molecular oxygen was identified.
Our own atmosphere made it hard to read light waves from other distant galaxies because the various gas elements absorb and redirect the waves.
The latest detection was made with the help of ground-based radio observatories IRAM 30-meter telescope in Granada, Spain and the Northern Extended Millimeter Array telescope (NOEMA) in the French Alps.
The next generation of radio observatories can accelerate the process of detection of extragalactic oxygen and scientists will research the influence of this element on planetary and galactic development.
Astronomers believe that the discovery and farther development of technology will help them to determine what role oxygen plays in cooling the clouds during star formation and the formation of life.