Early galaxy is the faintest ever observed
The faintest ever galaxy in the early Universe has been spotted, its light dating from 13.1 billion years ago. But the galaxy has one unique property in comparison to all of its known contemporaries – it’s completely normal.
“Other most distant objects are extremely bright and probably rare compared to other galaxies. We think this is much more representative of galaxies of the time,” says Austin Hoag, the University of California, Davis graduate student who led the discovery.
The galaxy, MACS1423-z7p64, was observed at a redshift of 7.6 by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. It dates from a time at which the fog of hydrogen left over from the Big Bang was being cleared away by the light of the first stars. Unfortunately, this fog hides much of the light from these early galaxies, meaning that until now only unusually bright ones have been viewable. This galaxy, however, was observable as it was gravitationally lensed, magnifying its brightness ten fold.
The aged galaxy surprised astronomers with its apparent normality