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A Galaxy Far Far Away

Astronomers have spotted what may be the most distant galaxy humans have ever seen. Images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope seem to confirm...




Astronomers have spotted what may be the most distant galaxy humans have ever seen. Images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope seem to confirm the existence of a galaxy 13 billion light-years away, providing a snapshot of what this particular cluster of gas and matter would've looked like 700 million years post-Big Bang. In universe years, this is mere infancy.

After the explosion that scientists think created, well, everything, there was a period before light (appropriately called the "dark ages") during which matter cooled into hydrogen and eventually clumped into stars and galaxies. Eventually these clusters of matter began to emit light, and scientists believe this particular galaxy to be one of the first to bring an end to those hundreds of millions of years of darkness.

But here's the coolest part. The Hubble Telescope on its own can't "see" galaxies that far away, so astronomers have taken to utilizing the natural assets of the universe to enhance their viewing capabilities. The theory of relativity says massive objects warp space and divert light from their original paths. This means that stars and galaxies can distort and amplify light from something behind it, serving as a natural magnifying glass positioned between a distant galaxy and and an astronomer.

It's like baseball: if you can't throw it all the way home from the warning track you hit your cut-off man, right?







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