Hubble discovers youngest galaxy yet
Feb 22,2008 00:00
BALTIMORE - A U.S.-led international team of scientists operating the Hubble Space Telescope has detected one of the youngest and brightest galaxies ever discovered.
The researchers led by Larry Bradley of Johns Hopkins University said the galaxy -- A1689-zD1 -- is 13 billion light-years from Earth and was formed about 700 million years after the Big Bang created the universe 13 billion years ago.
The galaxy -- too distant to be visible by Hubble's advanced camera for surveys -- was detected by the space telescope's near infrared camera and multi-object spectrometer, making use of a natural phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
The astronomers said they used a massive cluster of galaxies 2.2 billion light-years away to magnify the light from the newly-discovered galaxy more than 10 billion light years directly behind it. The gravity of the larger and nearer cluster of galaxies acted as a natural telescope by bending light from the more distant galaxy.
The scientists, including researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz and the European Southern Observatory, said they will conduct follow up observations using the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile.
They will report their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.