New Record for Most Distant Galaxy

This faint red dot is the oldest, most distant thing yet spotted by (instrument-aided) human eyes. Dubbed MACS0647-J, the ancient galaxy was revealed in images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy lies 13.3 billion light years from Earth, which means that it is seen as it was when the universe was only fraction of its current estimated age of about 13.7 billion years. Interestingly, the galaxy’s light would have been unobservable on its own, but it has been magnified by passing through an intervening galaxy cluster about 5.3 billion light years away. This galaxy appears to us at a very young age, and is relatively small, appearing to be only about 600 light years wide (the Milky Way, by comparison, is over 150,000 light yearsin diameter.) Astronomers believe that early, smaller collections of stars like the one spotted by Hubble formed the seeds of the galaxies that populate the universe today.

(NASA)

Image: NASA, ESA, and M. Postman and D. Coe (STScI) and CLASH Team

One comment on “New Record for Most Distant Galaxy

  1. WOW! That’s amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!