|Posted on October 21, 2015 at 9:35 AM|
* This is a backup post from the main page
Source: Space.com by Clara Moskowitz
A new celestial wonder has stolen the title of most distant object ever seen in the universe, astronomers report.
The new record holder is the galaxy MACS0647-JD, which is about 13.3 billion light-years away. The universe itself is only 13.7 billion years old, so this galaxy's light has been traveling toward us for almost the whole history of space and time.
Astronomers spotted the object using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, with the aid of a naturally occurring cosmic zoom lens as well. This lens 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.
The galaxy MACS0647-JD (inset) appears very young and is only a fraction of the size of our own Milky Way. The galaxy is about 13.3 billion light-years from Earth, the farthest galaxy yet known, and formed 420 million years after the Big Bang. Image taken by Hubble Space Telescope on Nov. 29, 2011, and released Nov. 15, 2012.
CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and M. Postman and D. Coe (STScI) and CLASH Team