Good Afternoon Space Travellers!
A team of astronomers (Scientists who study space objects) has detected the most distant galaxy yet. The galaxy is about 30 billion light-years away and is helping scientists study the period that immediately followed the Big Bang. It was found using the Hubble Space Telescope and its distance was then confirmed with the ground-based Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
Because it takes light so long to travel from the outer edge of the Universe to us on Earth (Even though light is the fastest moving object we know, travelling at 299792458 metres per second!), the galaxy appears as it was 13.1 billion years ago (Its distance from Earth of 30 billion light-years is because the Universe is expanding).
Lead researcher Steven Finkelstein said: “This is the most distant galaxy we’ve confirmed. We are seeing this galaxy as it was 700 million years after the Big Bang”. The far-off galaxy goes by the name of z8_GND_5296. Can anyone think of a more imaginative name that they could call it?
Astronomers were able to measure how far it was from Earth by measuring its colour. Because the Universe is expanding and everything is moving away from us, light waves are stretched out. This makes objects look redder than they actually are. Astronomers rate this apparent colour-change on a scale that is called redshift. They found that this galaxy has a redshift of 7.51, beating the previous record-holder, which had a redshift of 7.21.
This makes it the most distant galaxy ever found. It also has a surprising feature: It is turning gas and dust into new stars at a remarkable rate, churning them out hundreds of times faster than our own galaxy can!