NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble have discovered a new galaxy, one right on the edge of the observable Universe. It’s so young that is only 650 million years old, which is nothing in cosmological terms (our universe is 13.8 billion years old.) If confirmed, it will be the farthest galaxy we’ve ever seen.
Its name is Abell2744 Y1 and it’s very small compared to our galaxy: 30 times smaller. But unlike our good old Milky Way, this one is producing stars like crazy: 10 times more.
Discovered using Spitzer and Hubble using gravitational lensing — a technique that uses the bending of light through clusters of galaxies in order to amplify what’s behind them — it has a redshift of 8. Redshift is a” measure of the degree to which its light has been shifted to redder wavelengths due to the expansion of our universe,” which tells you how far away objects are from us. “If confirmed,” says NASA, “it would make it one of the farthest known.”
According to Jason Surace — from NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena — this is just “a preview of what’s to come.” The Frontier Fields program that discovered this galaxy is designed to make us look even further into the past of the Universe.