Looking at the stars: Astronomers explore origins of our universe photo: jkymis72
Japanese astronomers say they have found the universe’s oldest galaxy seen so far. Based in Hawaii, the team calculates that the galaxy is 12.91 billion light years away.
The astronomers used super-powered telescopes mounted on volcano Mauna Kea, the highest point in Hawaii.
Competing claims for oldest galaxy
But the Japanese discovery is not the only ‘oldest galaxy’ sighting: “In 2010, a French team using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope claimed to have discovered a galaxy from 13.1 billion light-years ago and last year a California team using Hubble said they saw a galaxy from 13.2 billion light-years ago,” reported The Telegraph.
Astronomers looking back in time
“The discovery of these ancient galaxies effectively means that scientists are viewing stars from the past – as the source of the light is over six trillion miles away and takes ‘light years’ for the light signals to reach the earth,” wrote Dan Thorne at TNT – so, effectively, scientists are looking back in time.
Exploring origins of the universe
“These findings help us to understand the nature of the early Universe during the ‘cosmic dawn’, when the light of ancient celestial objects and structures appeared from obscurity,” pointed out Space Daily. And there is still a lot of work ahead for astronomers: “Precise measurement of the number of galaxies during the cosmic dawn requires surveys of even wider fields.”