Galaxy Far, Far Away Discovered - One Of The Top 10 Most Distant Objects We Know Off
Astronomers have discovered a galaxy so far, far away that it was created only 800 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it one of the top ten most distant objects we know of in space. The findings will help astronomers understand how galaxies are formed.
The galaxy, named LAEJ095950.99+021219.1, and is situated 13 billion light-years away. It has taken so long for the light from the galaxy to reach us that today we see the galaxy in its infancy.
"This galaxy is being observed at a young age. We are seeing it as it was in the very distant past, when the universe was a mere 800 million years old," says James Rhoads, one of the astronomers involved in the study."This image is like a baby picture of this galaxy, taken when the universe was only 5 percent of its current age. Studying these very early galaxies is important because it helps us understand how galaxies form and grow."
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The galaxy was detected by light emitted from ionized hydrogen. The galaxy was first spotted in the summer of 2011, but the research and findings were not solidified and published until recently.
The researchers used the Magellan Telescopes at at the Carnegie Institution's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile which has incredible light-gathering capacities. They outfitted the telescopes with a special filter designed to observe light with a very narrow wavelength. This meant the researchers could focus on a specific range of infrared light.
"We have been using this technique since 1998 and pushing it to ever-greater distances and sensitivities in our search for the first galaxies at the edge of the universe," says Sangeeta Malhotra, an associate professor in the school.
"Young galaxies must be observed at infrared wavelengths and this is not easy to do using ground-based telescopes, since the Earth's atmosphere itself glows and large detectors are hard to make."