Star-rich Galaxy Found from Universe's Baby Years
February 11, 2014 2:57 PM EST
Astronomers have found an old and distant galaxy that is believed to date back to a time when the universe was just 650 million years old, a fraction of its current age.
Star-rich galaxy found from universe's baby years (representational image)
The galaxy, known as Abell 2744_Y1, is about 30 times smaller than the Milky Way, but pumping out stars at a prodigious rate.
If confirmed, the newly found galaxy would push back the universe's galaxy-formation clock by 100 million years to 650 million years after the Big Bang explosion some 13.8 billion years ago.
Another candidate galaxy, which was discovered in 2012, dates back to just 500 million years after the birth of the universe.
Abell 2744_Y1 is the first distant galaxy to be found during a new Hubble Space Telescope project that makes use of naturally occurring zoom lenses in space. These occur when objects with extremely powerful gravity, such as a cluster of galaxies, bend and magnify light from more distant objects, relative to Earth's line of sight.
Occasionally, the warped space will bring into focus a more distant object, such as it did with Abell 2744_Y1.
"The cluster of galaxies act as additional lens and can convert the mirror of the Hubble Space telescope to a mirror at least 10 times larger," astronomer Nicolas Laporte, with the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands, wrote in an email to Reuters.
The technique, known as "gravitational lensing" has been used before to ferret out distant galaxies. But the new initiative not only taps the resolving power of Hubble, but combines its images with observations by sister telescopes that detect infrared and X-ray light.
With the right alignment, astronomers hope the cosmic lenses will reveal galaxies that formed as early as 300 million years after the Big Bang, Laporte added.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Celebrities Who Got Pregnant Using IVF: Busting the Myths About IVF
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- NASA Scientists Advance Understanding of Climate Change With The Help Of IceCube
- First Ever Man-Made Leaf That Could Provide Oxygen During Space Travel: A Breathtaking Leap [Watch Video]
- NASA: Early Earth Likely To Have Been Hit By Giant Asteroids
- Hair Iron Could Spell the Future of Instant Hair Colour - US Engineers [Watch Video]
- Brown Fat Reduces Obesity, Diabetes Risk: Study
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date Update: 6 Most Wanted Feature Upgrades for Next iPhone
- Moto X Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update Guide: Schedule and How to Install
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers
- OnePlus One vs. Moto X+1 – Early Specifications, Release Date and Price Faceoff
- 2014 Ebola Outbreak: ‘Out of control… and Can Get Worse'; Asky Airline Stops Flying to Liberia, Sierra Leone; Liberia Closes Schools