Skip to comments.Hubble snaps photo of 13 billion year old galaxy — oldest on record
Posted on 01/14/2012 8:25:47 AM PST by Red Badger
NASA Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of the oldest galaxy on record, the space administration announced Tuesday.
The space administration said it has captured an image of a group of galaxies located 13.1 billion light years away. The team said the galaxies represent a cluster in the initial stages of development.
These galaxies formed during the earliest stages of galaxy assembly, when galaxies had just started to cluster together, said Michele Trenti of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. The result confirms our theoretical understanding of the buildup of galaxy clusters. And, Hubble is just powerful enough to find the first examples of them at this distance.
The space administration notes that galaxy clusters are among the largest structures in the universe, comprising hundreds to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity. The developing cluster, or protocluster, is seen as it looked 13 billion years ago.
Hubble spotted the five galaxies while performing a random sky survey in near-infrared light. The newfound galaxies are small, ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent the size of our own Milky Way. But they are similar in brightness to the Milky Way, said astronomers
NASA says the galaxy has likely grown into one of todays massive galactic cities, comparable to the nearby Virgo cluster of more than 2,000 galaxies.
Astronomers note that most galaxies in the universe reside in groups and clusters, and astronomers say discovering clusters in the early phases of construction has been a challenge due to the fact that they are rare, dim and widely scattered across the sky. The new find helps demonstrate that galaxies build up progressively over time, researchers said. It also provides further evidence for the hierarchical model of galaxy assembly.
The team of astronomers are scheduled to deliver the results of the findings Tuesday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas.
Records are always exciting, and this is the earliest and the most distant developing galaxy cluster that has ever been seen, said Michael Shull, a member of the team who discovered the protocluster. We have seen individual galaxies this old and far away, but we have not seen groups of them in the construction process before.
NASA administration officials said the latest cluster of galaxies represents an enormous contribution to the study of galaxies. The space agency said the size of galaxy cluster, while relatively large, pales in comparison to our own Milky Way galaxy. NASA astronomers also say the brightness of the galaxy cluster is an indication that the galaxies remain fairly young and have likely merged and formed the brightest central galaxy in the cluster.
The five bright galaxies spotted by Hubble are about one-half to one-tenth the size of our Milky Way, yet are comparable in brightness, NASA reported. The galaxies are bright and massive because they are being fed large amounts of gas through mergers with other galaxies.
The team estimated the distance to the newly spied galaxies based on their colors, but the astronomers plan to follow up with spectroscopic observations to confirm their distance.
The image is the latest victory for Hubble. NASA announced earlier in the week the discovery of the largest cluster of galaxies seen yet in the early universe, a giant that astronomers have dubbed El Gordo.
El Gordo whose name means the fat one in Spanish is officially known as ACT-CL J0102-4915 and is located more than 7 billion light-years from Earth.
The study will also be published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
I’m sure Darwin can explain how this happened.
The harder we look in any direction, the more we see.
If the ‘universe’ is round, shouldn’t we be able to see the back side?.........
Maybe I need to increase my reading glasses...
Bet you THEY can produce a birth certificate.
Good question. If the universe has expanded from the center like a balloon, then wouldn't there be galaxies 26 billion L/Y away? Hopefully some Freeper better versed in astronomy will be around shortly to explain this.
Maybe the light hasn't gotten here yet!.......;^)
There’s a hierarchy in developing galaxies? Bureaucracy.....it’s everywhere.
OK, we’ve now found a part of our universe that’s been around for 13 BILLION years. Yet we believe all of this is going to cease existing THIS YEAR.
How arrogant to think that WE are going to be the witnesses to end of a 13 billion year-plus history.
Scientists crack me up, especially when they depend on taxpayer money to come up with this crap. How on earth could anyone calculate how old something is in space. Its rediculous.
I've got to be honest here, I can't tell the difference between a new galaxy or an old one.......
Okay, the Wiki link kind of answers the question, just as I postulated, the light has not arrived here yet.
The ‘observable’ universe, from our vantage point, consists of solely what WE can ‘see’, and other vantage points would give different ‘observable universes’, that may or may not overlap ours.
So, we live in a ‘bubble’ that is limited by the speed of light and distance to the edge of observations.
The inference is, therefore, that there is more ‘stuff’ out there that we cannot yet ‘see’ because it is too far away for the light to have arrived here.
So the astronomers create a ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Dark Energy’ theory to account for the absence of that which they cannot yet see.
Has anyone ever postulated that there may have been a ‘Big Bang’ followed by numerous ‘Little Bangs’ that created successive ‘universes’ that are all the same approximate age, but for reasons of limits on the speed of light are not directly observable from one to another?
Each ‘Little Bang’ would be, to the observers inside its bounds, a ‘Big Bang’ that would not have enough ‘matter’ inside its boundaries to account for its own existence.
The ‘Universe’ may be much bigger than we have ever conceived, and contain much more than we thought possible..............
why does darwins theory mean that there is no god or that there is a god proves darwin wrong, isn’t just as likely that both are possible? for example god created the universe and the planets etc and since then natural selection has occured?
The Current FReepathon Pays For The Current Quarters Expenses?
Sure. Just look behind you. Just don't be surprised if the Universe says, "Does this galaxy make my butt look big?"
It’s obviously moving ‘left’.........
Whether you can hear it or not, the Universe is laughing behind your back.
“. How on earth could anyone calculate how old something is in space. “
What cracks me up is the ignorance of people such as yourself. You don’t know the first thing about science but then denounce it.
As many predicted, the Age of the Universe continues to be relentlessly pushed back, the result of a subconscious need for infinity to explain it all.
LOL! that was a good one
13 billion years old? Man, that’s a lot of candles to buy for a cake.
“Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear galaxy,
Happy birthday to you!
Blow out the candles!
Oh oh! Looks like you got 12 billion, 360 million, 245 thousand and four girlfriends! Big galaxy with no lungs!”
“I brought you in to this world; I can take you out” -God, via Bill Cosby 8^)
What do you buy a galaxy for his birthday?
“Here, I got you a Hot Wheels car. It’s a Mustang. Bobby was gonna get you some track to put on that solar system over there. It even has a loop-the-loop!””
Actually, I do know a little about science, but you are correct that I don't know how they do it. Please explain it to me.
That would allow Obama to pick a new running mate to help him in one of the swing states.
As objects recede, the characteristic spectral lines of their elements (hydrogen, helium, etc.) are shifted toward to the lower, red, end of the color spectrum (whereas if approaching they shift toward the ultraviolet). Thus scientists measure the amount of this red shift to determine the receding speed and thus the distance, in light-years.
If you're really curious, do an internet search on "expanding universe," "red shift," "galactic distances," etc.
“Scientists crack me up, especially when they depend on taxpayer money to come up with this crap. How on earth could anyone calculate how old something is in space. Its rediculous”
“Please explain it to me.”
You made the stupid statement above, you can explain how you know it is “crap” and “ridiculous”. Go ahead, explain yourself.
This picture IS NOT worth a thousand words. LOL
5Is this where the Ancient Aliens are from?
Of course this assumes the red shift is totally unaffected by whatever forces, known or unknown, exist in the path of the billions of light years traveled.
I think it’s kind of mean to say this galaxy is “the oldest on record”. What if someone wants to hire him as an insurance salesman, but here we’ve said he’s too old? We could be charged with abetting age discrimination. Let’s just call it a “Seasoned Galaxy”. There, that’s better.
The calculation is based on “red shift,” IIRC.
Is that Old Galaxy 13 billion years old? lol
Just my simple minded point of view :^)
Creation is not necessarily linear. God could have created the universe long, long before he decided to make Earth.
Thanks gargoyle, this will be an “extra extra” ping to the APoD list (alas, I didn’t send the updated list to myself for road access, so tomorrow).
...Your welcome, have a good trip. I'm certain that after 13 billion years, this galaxy will still be there another day, at least. (-;)
Of course, in three years it’ll be 13,000,000,003 years old.