Scientists Discover One of the Oldest Galaxies of All Time

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 - 11:20AM
Space
Astronomy
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 - 11:20AM
Scientists Discover One of the Oldest Galaxies of All Time
Image credit: NASA
Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered one of the oldest galaxies ever detected.

A distant star-forming galaxy born during first billion years after the Big Bang, the recently found galaxy, seen as it appeared 12.8 billion years ago, is the oldest object ever discovered by the Large Millimeter Telescopethe largest millimeter wavelength telescope in the world.

The universe is a big place-so big in fact that astronomers point out that we can use its vastness to look back in time, as when looking through a telescope we are seeing stars thousands and millions of light years away.

That means light from an object 1,000 light years away from Earth took 1,0000 years to get here-so if we're seeing that now, it's really how the object appeared 1,000 years ago.

 
According to UMass Amherst astrophysicist Min Yun, the newly found galaxy is also the second-oldest distant such object ever spotted, with only one other older and more distant object known.

"Seeing an object within the first billion years is remarkable because the universe was fully ionized," Yun said. "That is, it was too hot and too uniform to form anything for the first 400 million years. So our best guess is that the first stars and galaxies and black holes all formed within the first half a billion to one billion years."

"This new object is very close to being one of the first galaxies ever to form."

Yun further explained that the LMT was able to make this find because of its ability to peer through dust in millimeter and radio wavelengths. "The most prolific star-forming galaxies and thus the most luminous are also the most difficult to study using traditional optical telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope because they are also the most obscured by dust," she said.

"Its ability to study these very distant objects is one of its most outstanding abilities, almost unique in the world."

Yun also noted that the LMT is yet to fully come online, but will do so in the next couple of months. Its high sensitivity and resolution will allow for the detection of extremely faint objects, "essentially at the very edge of the universe."
Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
Scientists Discover One of the Oldest Galaxies Ever Detected
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