Farthest galaxy ever spotted by cosmic lens, scientists claim

By on Sep 20, 2012 in Astronomy, Science Comments

The so-called current farthest galaxy known as MACS1149-JD has been recently spotted with the help of cosmic lens, which astronomers claim to be the current earliest known and most distant galaxy ever identified.

According to Space.com on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, this recently discovered galaxy, which was believed have existed when the universe was about 500 million years old, was found using two NASA space observatories: the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope.

As noted in the report, astronomers may know the age of a galaxy by estimating its distance from Earth, which can be analyzed depending on its gravitational lensing how much the light from it is being distorted. Our universe was estimated to have begun about 13.7 billion years ago during the Big Bang.

“We feel like archaeologists with a pre-Neanderthal fossil in hand. Such a discovery would not have been possible if the object was un-lensed,” Wei Zheng, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, was quoted telling to SPACE.com, who is also the lead author of the study.

Based on the recent development of the research, this yet farthest galaxy is around 150 million times the mass of the sun and formed less than 200 million years after the Big Bang. Although astronomers have detected likely older galaxies before, their faintness makes their ages very hard to estimate.

Back in 2008, scientists announced that images of a young galaxy known as the A1689-zD1 was also taken by Hubble Space Telescope, which was then identified as the strongest candidate to be the farthest galaxy ever seen. It was estimated to be almost 13 billion light-years away from Earth.


farthest galaxy MACS1149-JD
Newly found farthest galaxy known as MACS1149-JD, and massive cluster called MACS J1149+2223
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Zheng (JHU), M. Postman (STScI), and the CLASH Team


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