Galaxy MACS0647-JD

Source PUBLISHED: 06:09 EST, 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:11 EST, 16 November 2012

Researchers have identified the furthest ever galaxy discovered in space – a staggering 13.3 billion light-years from Earth.

The galaxy was observed around 420 million years after the Big Bang when the universe was just 3 per cent of its current age.

Astronomers have calculated the galaxy is a 13.3 billion light-years from Earth with a single light-year representing 5,878,625 million miles.

It was spotted using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and one of nature’s own natural ‘zoom lenses’ in space.

Scientists say the object is in the first stages of galaxy formation with analysis showing it is less than 600 light-years across.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is 150,000 light-years across with the Solar System a third of the age of the newly discovered galaxy.

Dan Coe, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, said. ‘This object may be one of many building blocks of a galaxy.

‘Over the next 13 billion years, it may have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of merging events with other galaxies and galaxy fragments.’

Coe and his collaborators spent months ruling out alternative explanations for the object’s identity – such as red stars, brown dwarfs, and red galaxies – to conclude it was a very distant galaxy.

The object, named MACS0647-JD, is the latest discovery from a programme which uses natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe.

The Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) is using massive galaxy clusters as cosmic telescopes to magnify distant galaxies behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing.

Rychard Bouwens, from Leiden University, Holland, said: ‘While one occasionally expects to find an extremely distant galaxy using the tremendous power of gravitational lensing, this latest discovery has outstripped even my expectations of what would be possible with the CLASH program.
“The science output in this regard has been incredible.’

It is such a good feeling when things like this are found. Things so old the mind can hardly comprehend it. I’m not a fan of the Big Bang, though. It’s a nice theory, I guess, but it remains just a theory, regardless of it usually being presented as if it is fact. All of these astronomers seem to take it as if it were a fact… I sometimes find that a little disturbing.

I often wonder what they’ll do when an object is found that calculates out to 15 billion years. Hehe. And I am quite certain that if they point a scope at some dark spot and let the shutter go for a couple of months that that will happen.

Interestingly, the above article was published in 2012 and then just recently we find the one below. With a very similar title. But I always thought that 13.3 was farther than 13.1. Perhaps they forgot about the older one.

Anyway, this next one’s cool too.

galaxy z8_GND_5296. Photograph by V. Tilvi (Texas A&M), S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), the CANDELS Team, and HST/NASA

Galaxy z8_GND_5296. Photograph by V. Tilvi (Texas A&M), S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), the CANDELS Team, and HST/NASA

Andrew Fazekas

National Geographic

Published October 23, 2013

Astronomers have found a galaxy 13.1 billion light-years from Earth, making it officially the most distant object ever detected.

A faint, infrared speck of light from this ancient galaxy, called z8_GND_5296, was spotted using the Hubble Space Telescope and one of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes, a ten-meter telescope at Keck Observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Light from this baby galaxy began its journey when the universe was about 700 million years old and just emerging from the cosmic mist left over from its birth, said Casey Papovich, one of the lead authors of the study and an astronomer at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The former record holder is a fellow youngster, an ultra-faint galaxy about 100 million light-years closer to Earth.

Past claims of galaxies at these extreme distances were mined from deep field images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. But many of these would-be candidates turned out to be much closer than previously thought, according to Papovich.

How Far Back Can We Go?

Can we push the record back even further, closer to the Big Bang?

Richard Ellis, an astronomer not connected to the study, says it is definitely possible. But we do not yet have telescopes powerful enough to do the job.

“We have the capability, in principle, to push to redshifts of ten and beyond, corresponding to a time when the universe was only 350 million years old, or only 3 percent of its present age,” said Ellis, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
national geographic

Wow, good stuff, eh?

I wonder what these things look like now… or even if they still exist!

Peace.

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