UK & World News
Hubble Space Telescope Snaps Distant Galaxy
The Hubble Space Telescope has recorded what is believed to be the most distant object ever observed - a fuzzy cluster of stars 13.3 billion light years away.
Scientists think the galaxy, code-named MACSO647-JD, could be one of the building blocks of the early cosmos.
It dates back to when the universe was just 3% of its present age of 13.7 billion years.
Light from the tiny embryonic galaxy began its journey to Earth 420 million years after the Big Bang that created the universe.
Now it has been pictured with the help of a natural "zoom lens" more powerful than any man-made telescope.
Gravity from a huge cluster of galaxies between the Earth and MACSO647-JD bent light rays from the object in a way that massively magnified its image.
The "gravitational lensing" effect allowed astronomers to photograph the galaxy using Hubble.
Dr Marc Postman, from the Space Telescope Science Institute in the US, led the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (Clash) team.
He said: "The cluster does what no man-made telescope can do. Without the magnification, it would require a Herculean effort to observe this galaxy."
It is the second time this year that the record for the most distant object has been broken.
In April, Clash astronomers announced the discovery of a galaxy that existed when the universe was about 490 million years old, making it more remote than anything seen before.
The new galaxy is 70 million years older than this object.
MACS0637-JD is less than 600 light years across, making it a galactic microbe.
In comparison, the Milky Way is 150,000 light years wide. The baby galaxy has a mass roughly equivalent to between 0.1 and 1% that of all the stars in the Milky Way.
Dr Dan Coe, also from the Space Telescope Science Institute, said: "This object may be one of the 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."
The team spent months confirming that the object really was a distant galaxy.
Some nearby objects such as red stars, brown dwarf stars and dusty star clusters can mimic the appearance of a very distant galaxy.
The Hubble telescope was used to observe three magnified images of MACS0637-JD produced by gravitational lensing.
To check the results, astronomers also studied images from the American space agency Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Galaxy distances are measured by looking at their "red shift" - the extent to which their light waves are stretched and made redder as the expanding universe carries them away from the Earth.
MACS0647-JD had a "red shift" of around 11, meaning that its light was so stretched it could only be seen through near-infrared filters.
what do you think?
But still no Klingon Bird of Prey? Shame. Klingon women are hot!
Hmmm, only one of the Duras sisters was Stevie!
Lorgar - dont understand why orange removed your post(didn't see anything offensive about it myself - but there you go)!
Just noticed Stevie - maybe Orange prefers Romulans...
I prefer bajoran women myself
Dont think id have a problem dating a Klingon female. . . Just as long as I had her dinner on the table as soon as she came home. . And hid under the stairs during her mating cycle. . .id be fine. . . Hopefully!
Tricky one Big WOW surely it will affect our lives so so much especially if you live to 27,000 years so u can reach it
Trying to understand the fundamental principles of the building blocks of this incredible universe we live in is interesting, which is why i bothered to click onthe link, read the article and post a comment. Why did you bother?
billions spent and who cares
If you don't understand then please refrain from commenting. X Factor is tomorrow...
david there is an irony about those billions spent - went to NASA once and was shocked at just how the whole space thing affects out everyday life - so lets start with how you managed to post your message. Yep the micro processor came about as a result of space exploration
Hubble cost only $36,000,000. Peanuts compared to most space programmes.
"MACS0637-JD is less than 600 light years across, making it a galactic microbe" WAS 600LY across it possibly doesnt exist anymore.It may of suffered the same fate as our own galaxy will, by merging with a neighbouring galaxy. I would love to be around when the andromeda galaxy is visible with out a telescope, dominating the sky.
I saw a programme (think it was Secrets of the Universe) that showed what our night sky will look like as we approach Andromeda. Spectacular. Shame we won't be around to see it.
Or when Beetlejuice goes supernova, as its meant to do in the relative near future. Orion is going to look a bit different. . Chris, you seem knowledgeable, do you know if they have finally decided on the name for Plutos fourth moon yet? Thought they were meant to announce it Feb 2012 but heard nothing yet
I know of Charon, think another 2 are Nix and Hydra, not sure of the fourth.
No stevie it still doesnt have a name other than s/2012p1 from what ive seen. Old betty could go at any time now or could hold out a few more centuries. Dying stars are so unpredictable. It would be awesome to be able to witness it, although after orion would look strange with out his shoulder
I voted for the name Cerberus for Pluto's 4th moon, after the 3 headed wolf guardian of the greek underworld. . . Wish the powers that be would make their minds up
It has five moons charon nix hydra s/2011 and the most recent being s/2012p1 found in june/july of this year. And pluto is still not classed as a planet even though it has more moons than earth. Just goes to show that when we think we've mapped out our own solar system we find that we havent even scratched the surface.
Right chris! How can pluto be a planet when setna, which is bigger, isnt?
I prefer a crunchy or evens rolos myself. ROB.
As you say, Wow! It is 13.3 bly away, the universe is 13.7 b years old, so we have been travelling at 97% of the speed of light since the alleged 'big bang'. A telescope looking 180 degrees the other way will see a galaxy approx 13 bly away, so the diameter of the universe is around 26 bly across. Not bad for a universe only 13.7 b years old. And the Earth is at the centre of it all!! Galileo and Copernicus were wrong after all. The 'big bang' is a convenient way to explain it all. Personally I think it's tosh, invented simply because we cannot get our little tiny heads around the concept of infinity.
26BLY across. Depends on the shape of the universe if the big bang was the begining of it. Whos to say that the universe is spherical .
Only the other day they found an exo-planet only 100LY away problem is it is an orphan planet. That can generate its own heat like a star but isnt capable of fusion like a brown dwarf. It was possibly ejected from a solar system a long time ago and now travels alone through space.
Oh no, could it be... Niribu? Argh the Mayans were right!
Niribu is from ancient sumarian(middle east) mythology its where demi-gods the anunaki( which apparently translated into english means those who from the heavens to earth came) lived. contrary to popular culture and belief There is nothing about the end of the world associated with dec 21st2012and the mayan long count calander mentioned in the dresden codex which are mayan pictoglyphs describing how the mayan calender works. Mainly because the spanish destroyed most of them because they concidered them blasphemous. The remaining works were either destroyed in by flooding in the vault they were kept in. Or just offer tips on growing corn and keeping LIamas. And as we use the roman calender that has leap years in it,something the mayans had no need of. The world should of ended two years ago I'll bore-off now
Even for the educated, trying to perceive the forces and pressures, explosions and distance of our eternal limitless universe is very difficult for the human brain, even one with great imagination. I suppose its almost inevitable that so many people are drawn to believe in a supernatural divine origin - it makes things easier to conceive. . . And I make that statement with the full disclosure of believing Mother Nature is a sentient divine reality. . . . With big b r e a s t s
We are so tiny we cannot measure time in space terms, our notion of time measurement is will not equate with space time