Space telescopes spot what may be oldest galaxy

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Scientists have observed what they believe to be the most distant and oldest galaxy ever detected — a discovery which could provide insight into the nature of the universe in its infancy.

The galaxies of a massive cluster called MACS J1149+2223 are at left. / NASA / Space Telescope Science Institute

“This galaxy is the most distant object we have ever observed with high confidence,” Wei Zheng, the leading astronomer of the team at Johns Hopkins University that noticed the galaxy on multiple images from both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, told ScienceBlog. At 13.2-billion years old, we are technically seeing this galaxy when it was very young, but its light is only reaching Earth now. …

According to DiscoveryNews, scientists have gauged that the overall age of the universe is 13.7 billion years, which would make this galaxy almost as old as the universe itself and born from a time dubbed “The Dark Ages.” The universe is believed to have started building galaxies 500 million years after the Big Bang.


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