Most distant breath of oxygen dates back to the Cosmic Dawn

For the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang, the universe was a very cold, dark place. Basic elements like oxygen, carbon and nitrogen weren’t very common until the first stars had fired up, burnt out and exploded. Now, astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have detected the most distant – and hence, earliest – signature of oxygen, in a galaxy 13.28 billion light-years away.

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