Scientists Spot Oldest Ever Galaxy Using Hubble
Looking through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers have seen
The galaxy is thought to be about 13.2 billion years old. "That's about 480 million years after scientists believe the universe was formed," says NPR.
Described as a "smudge of light," the finding represents a new milestone in astronomers' quest to find the earth's earliest creations.
“It’s amazing that we finally believe that we have observed something at this epoch,” said astronomer Rychard Bowens, now of Leiden University in the Netherlands, lead author of a paper to appear in the Jan. 27 Nature.“It’s like breaking the four-minute mile in running. It’s had a little bit of awe.”
The image of the galaxy comes from a larger space-picture known as "Hubble Ultra Deep Field." The New York Times reports that the findings still need to be confirmed, however, with the use of another type of telescope.
"That data yielded a crop of galaxies dating from 600 million to 800 million years after the Big Bang and a hint of an even earlier galaxy...After a year of testing and simulations, the team concluded that it was the most primordial galaxy yet found. Spectroscopic observations with the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope, however, are needed to cement the identification of the smudge as a galaxy."