Galaxy UDFy-38135539, a mere speck when seen on telescope and spotted by Hubble, is the oldest galaxy we’ve ever discovered, as calculated this Wednesday. Observing the galaxy included something called “redshift,” with which astronomers can gather a greater understanding of the distance of a celestial object as well as its age. The Hubble telescope is known for capturing beautiful images of space– stars, galaxies, and more– but this particular first is important not just for its amazement factor, but for what it may help us confirm of what we think we know of our universe.
They measured the redshift for galaxy UDFy-38135539 at 8.56, revealing a gamma-ray burst– a “powerful cosmic explosion”, reports ThirdAge. They explain that the redshift for a galaxy is the extent that light emitted from a body is shifted to longer/redder wavelengths by universal expansion, which indicates distance– the farther away, the greater the redshift.
In Chile, after 16 hours of observations from a telescope, the age of galaxy UDFy-38135539 was calculated to be 13.1 billion-years-old– making it the oldest and most distant object yet seen, says Physics Today. The distance it takes light to travel from a celestial body to Earth gives scientists information on both distance and age.
The discovery, other than being incredibly fascinating, is very important for our understanding of space. It is in line with theories presently existing on the age of the stars and the universe (specifically when the first stars and galaxies were born). The Hubble telescope captured images of the galaxy and continues to make other observations, including those of other important projects. David Jewitt at UCLA claims their current work observing one particular asteroid, P/2010 A2, will open the door to “empirical study” of the way asteroids die, continues ThirdAge.
Go to Hubble Site for more info including a News Center, and other discoveries on galaxies and stars. They have some great Hubble-captured pictures of stars, galaxies, and nebulae in their gallery, and their latest site-published news, “Pinwheel of Star Birth.”
Many of us have been fascinated by the observations of the Hubble since it was first utilized, but this recent discovery is a fine example of just how far we’ve come with science, technology, astronomy, and what it may mean in explaining our existence and our universe. By examining the stars, galaxies, asteroids and other celestial phenomena, we can further unlock the mysteries that have plagued scientists for ages and have a better grasp of how we came to be.
Hubble Telescope Sparks Interest Amid Recent Discoveries, ThirdAge
Hubble Space Telescope captures oldest galaxy so far, Physics Today