Astronomers have discovered what they think is the most distant galaxy ever spotted by humans.
Dubbed z8_GND_5296, this particular galaxy is extremely unique in that it gives us a glimpse at what the universe was like right after the big bang occurred.
“We get a glimpse of conditions when the universe was only about 5 percent of its current age of 13.8 billion years,” said Casey Papovich, a fellow astronomer involved in the discovery.
With the aid of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Keck I telescope in Hawaii, the astronomers were able estimate how old (by the time the light reaches our eyes) z8_GND_5296 is. According to the astronomers, the redshift—the displacement of spectral lines to longer wavelengths in radiation from far off celestial objects and galaxies—of z8_GND_5296 is 7.51, which is the highest galactic redshift ever recorded. This means that what astronomers are observing, right now, is an extremely young galaxy (estimated age of 700 million years old).
Something else that’s special about z8_GND_5296 is that its rate of star formation is extremely fast, and someday, if our technology is advanced enough, we might be able to observe one of the most amazing light show in the universe.
Source: keck observatory