Today NASA presented a unique picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The telescope has photographed a picture of the galaxy GN-z11, which is farthest galaxy it is possible to see.
The Galaxy is one of the oldest, and occurred just 400 million years after the Big Bang. The picture shows the way it looked 13.4 billion years ago.
“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble. We see GN-z11 at a time when the universe was only three percent of its current age,” explained principal investigator Pascal Oesch of Yale University.
The team includes scientists from Yale University, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), and the University of California.
The galaxy is well hidden behind the constellation Ursa Major and appears to be roughly 20 times smaller than our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
According to NASA, the results show surprising new insights into the history of the earliest period of the universe.
“It’s amazing that a galaxy so massive existed only 200 million to 300 million years after the very first stars started to form. It takes really fast growth, producing stars at a huge rate, to have formed a galaxy that is a billion solar masses so soon,” explained investigator Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Although this is the farthest into space the Hubble telescope can see, the 25-year-old Hubble will soon be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope, which should be able to observe even greater distances than the HST.
“This new discovery shows that the Webb telescope will surely find many such young galaxies reaching back to when the first galaxies were forming,” says Illingworth.
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to be sent into space in 2018.
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