A group of astronomers from University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mexico’s National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics have discovered one of the oldest galaxies in the universe. According to the researchers, the galaxy formed around 12.8 billion years ago which means it is the second oldest galaxies known to us at the moment.
In an official statement, astrophysicist Min Yun, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said, “The Big Bang happened 13.7 billion years ago and now we are seeing this galaxy from 12.8 billion years ago, so it was forming within the first billion years after the Big Bang.”
“Seeing an object within the first billion years is remarkable because the universe was fully ionized, that is, it was too hot and too uniform to form anything for the first 400 million years.”
“So our best guess is that the first stars and galaxies and black holes all formed within the first half a billion to one billion years. This new object is very close to being one of the first galaxies ever to form.”
The group of scientists used the Large Millimeter Telescope which started operating back in 2011 to discover the latest object. While the telescope is yet to become completely functional, the telescope will give more accurate data when it becomes fully functional. Talking about the LMT’s role in the latest discovery, Min Yun Said, “This result is not a surprise, because this is what the LMT was built to do, but we are very excited. These high redshift, very distant objects are a class of mythical beasts in astrophysics.”
“We always knew there were some out there that are enormously large and bright, but they are invisible in visible light spectrum because they are so obscured by the thick dust clouds that surround their young stars. Paradoxically, the most prolific star-forming galaxies and thus the most luminous are also the most difficult to study using traditional optical telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope because they are also the most obscured by dust.”