Image of the Day: The Oldest Known Galaxy in the Observable Universe


Earlier this year, an international team of astronomers spotted the earliest galaxy yet discovered, a smudge of light from nearly 13.2 billion years ago. In short, the new-found galaxy dates to just 480 million years after the Big Bang.

That would trump the announcement by a French team last fall who said they found a galaxy from about 600 million years after the Big Bang. That discovery also is not universally accepted and one of the skeptics is the co-author of the latest paper.

Even more interesting than the advanced age of the newly discovered galaxy is the absence of other similarly aged bright galaxies, which indicates that star formation during that point in the universe's early childhood was happening at a rate 10 times slower than it was millions of years later, said Garth Illingworth of the University of California Santa Cruz.

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