Monday, October 25 2021
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Breathable air found outside our Galaxy for the first time ever

People have longed dreamed of exploring and colonizing space beyond our galaxy, but first there would need to be air. Even once you get around the technical issues, there are other problems. One of those problems is that people need to breathe, and the oxygen necessary to sustain human life has never been found outside our home galaxy. Until now.

According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, astronomers have identified molecular oxygen, which forms breathable air, somewhere outside our own galaxy, the Milky Way, for the first time.

Atomic oxygen (O2) is the third most common element present in the Universe, coming in behind hydrogen and helium. Given that, scientists have long believed that they should be able to find molecular oxygen in space outside our galaxy but have never previously managed to do so.

Now, Junzhi Wang and a team of astronomers from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory have identified the presence of breathable oxygen in a galaxy known as Markaryan 231, more than half a billion, yes, billion, light-years from Earth, near the constellation Ursa Major. The Markaryan galaxy is the closest one to our own that contains a quasar as well as a supermassive black hole or two, according to News Observatory.

Light wave readings were taken at the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Granada, Spain. These readings helped scientists detect evidence of molecular oxygen in the Markarian 231 galaxy, the first time it has been found outside the Milky Way.