The newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, is very young and only a tiny fraction of the size of our Milky Way. The object is observed 420 million years after the big bang. The inset at left shows a close-up of the young dwarf galaxy. This image is a composite taken with Hubble’s WFC 3 and ACS on Oct. 5 and Nov. 29, 2011. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Postman and D. Coe (STScI) and CLASH Team.
› Larger image
The farthest galaxy appears as a diminutive blob that is only a tiny fraction of the size of our Milky Way galaxy. But it offers a peek back into a time when the universe was 3 percent of its present age of 13.7 billion years.The newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, was observed 420 million years after the big bang, the theorized beginning of the universe. Its light has traveled 13.3 billion years to reach Earth.
This find is the latest discovery from a program that uses natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe. The Cluster Lensing And Supernova Survey with Hubble (CLASH),an international group led by Marc Postman of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., is using massive galaxy clusters as cosmic telescopes to magnify distant galaxies behind them. This effect is called gravitational lensing.