Most Distant Object Across Space Found: Galaxy MACS0647-JD

First Posted: Nov 24, 2012 01:14 AM EST

Captured by the ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, Galaxy MACS0647-JD is now the most distant object across space, say astronomers.

"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," Space Telescope Science Institute's Dan Coe, who led the study of this particular galaxy, told

The Galaxy MACS0647-JD, which is 13.7 billion years away, appears very young and is only a fraction of the size of Milky Way. This might have formed around 420 million years after the Big Bang occurred.  

Marc Postman of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore sheds light on one of a kind zoom lens used in this discovery. It is a naturally occurring cosmic zoom lens, which is a huge cluster of galaxies whose collective gravity warps space-time, producing what's called a gravitational lens.  As the distant galaxy's light traveled through this lens on its way to Earth, it was magnified, as explained by

The lens used in this discovery was made possible by 'Cluster Lensing and Supernova survey with Hubble'. "This cluster does what no man-made telescope can do. Without the magnification, it would require a Herculean effort to observe this galaxy," said Postam to

Astronomers have been trying to trace distant objects in space. Galaxy MACS0647-JD beats Galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2 hands down in distance. Galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2 was discovered by scientists in Japan which is said to be 12.91 billion light years away from Earth. It is also reckoned that this new found galaxy would be around 600 light years wide. Scientists believe that a galaxy of similar age to MACS0647-JD should be around 2,000 light years wide and this new found galaxy is a fraction of that size.

The discovery of the new distant galaxy will be published in Dec. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

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