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Scientist combine the power of Hubble, Spitzer and gravitational lensing to find most distant galaxy

from NASA

By combining the power of NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, and by exploiting gravitational lensing, astronomers have set a new record for finding the most distant galaxy seen in the universe. Light from the newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, has taken 13.3 billion years to reach Earth. The researchers believe that they are observing the galaxy as it was 420 million years after the big bang, i.e., when the universe was 3 percent of its present age of 13.7 billion years. Because of its small size, astronomers can reasonably assert that this new galaxy is very young and has dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of merging events with other galaxies and galaxy fragments in its future. It is less than 600 light-years wide. Astronomers estimate that a typical galaxy of a similar age should be about 2,000 light-years wide. For comparison, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy companion to the Milky Way, is 14,000 light-years wide. Our Milky Way is 150,000 light-years across. Without the magnification powers of the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015, this observation would not have even been possible. The Cluster Lensing And Supernova Survey with Hubble group uses massive galaxy clusters as magnification lenses to find Type Ia supernovae, distant galaxies, and distributions on normal and dark matter in them. The paper describing this discovery is posted on arXiv and will appear in the Astrophysical Journal. more

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