Himiko (Lyman-alpha blob)
Himiko is a large gas cloud found at redshift of z=6.6 that predates similar Lyman-alpha blobs. At the time of its discovery in 2009, researchers said it "may represent the most massive object ever discovered in the early universe." It is located in Cetus at redshift z=6.595, about 12.9 billion light years from Earth, or about 75×1021 miles (122×1021 kilometers).
Image of Himiko using data from various sources
|Object type||Lyman-alpha blob, emission-line galaxy|
|02h 17m 57.563s|
|Declination||−05° 08′ 44.45″|
|24.61 ±0.08, 24.8 ±0.08, 24.9 ±0.2, 25.82 ±0.15|
This nebular gas cloud is thought to be a protogalaxy, caught in the act of formation. There have been no spectroscopic signatures of anything other than hydrogen or helium, and its luminance cannot be ascribed to gravitational lensing, black holes or exterior excitation. The lack of any chemical signatures other than hydrogen and helium illustrate the extreme primitiveness of the object, and early enough so as not to be polluted by carbon signatures from young stars.
It is 55,000 light years across (half the diameter of our galaxy), and at the time of discovery, said to "hold more than 10 times as much mass as the next largest object found in the early universe, or roughly the equivalent mass of 40 billion Suns".
Masami Ouchi, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, California, stated "I have never heard about any [similar] objects that could be resolved at this distance...[i]t's kind of record-breaking."
- Hsu, Jeremy (2009-04-22). "Giant Mystery Blob Discovered Near Dawn of Time". SPACE.com. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Astronomers Probe the Primitive Nature of a Distant 'Space Blob'". Science Daily. 16 January 2014.
- "Mysterious Space Blob Discovered at Cosmic Dawn". Carnegie Institution for Science. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- SIMBAD, "NAME Himiko" (accessed 12 April 2010)
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