| CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Feb 10 Astronomers have
found an old and distant galaxy that is believed to date back to
a time when the universe was just 650 million years old, a
fraction of its current age.
The galaxy, known as Abell 2744_Y1, is about 30 times
smaller than the Milky Way, but pumping out stars at a
If confirmed, the newly found galaxy would push back the
universe's galaxy-formation clock by 100 million years to 650
million years after the Big Bang explosion some 13.8 billion
Another candidate galaxy, which was discovered in 2012,
dates back to just 500 million years after the birth of the
Abell 2744_Y1 is the first distant galaxy to be found during
a new Hubble Space Telescope project that makes use of naturally
occurring zoom lenses in space. These occur when objects with
extremely powerful gravity, such as a cluster of galaxies, bend
and magnify light from more distant objects, relative to Earth's
line of sight.
Occasionally, the warped space will bring into focus a more
distant object, such as it did with Abell 2744_Y1.
"The cluster of galaxies act as additional lens and can
convert the mirror of the Hubble Space telescope to a mirror at
least 10 times larger," astronomer Nicolas Laporte, with the
Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands, wrote in an email
The technique, known as "gravitational lensing" has been
used before to ferret out distant galaxies. But the new
initiative not only taps the resolving power of Hubble, but
combines its images with observations by sister telescopes that
detect infrared and X-ray light.
With the right alignment, astronomers hope the cosmic lenses
will reveal galaxies that formed as early as 300 million years
after the Big Bang, Laporte added.
The research will be published in the journal Astronomy and
(Editing by Eric Walsh)