Astronomers used NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to detect a galaxy from the early universe.
Scientists in Chile have used two powerful NASA telescopes to spot the faintest object ever recorded in the early universe — just 400 million years after the Big Bang.
The object, nicknamed Tayna (meaning first-born in a native South American language), was detected with NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, according to a Space Daily report.
It’s not the first time these telescopes have been trained on incredibly distant galaxies only a few hundred millions years removed from the Big Bang, but this is the first time they’ve detected one of the smaller, fainter class of new galaxies that they had been unable to spot before — objects that may provide more information on the evolution of the first galaxies in the early universe.
Leopoldo Infante, an astronomer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the lead author of the paper, which was published in the Astrophysical Journal, said that for the first time astronomers have been able to study the properties of very faint objects formed shortly after the formation of the universe. It’s one of 22 young galaxies discovered near the beginning of the universe.
It’s not a big galaxy, only about as large as the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way galaxy. And it’s working incredibly hard, cranking out stars 10 times the rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud, indicating it was rapidly heading to a full-sized galaxy at the time.
How are scientists able to look so deep into space? They essentially use a giant cluster of galaxies about 4 billion light-years away which act essentially as a magnifying glass, allowing the space telescopes to peer much deeper into space using a phenomenon called gravitational lensing discovered by Albert Einstein. They then used a color profile to determine the galaxy’s distance.