Images of a fiery youth

2:15pm, November 21, 2005

A faint wash of infrared light captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope could be a snapshot of the cosmic dawn—the era when millions of the first starry bodies in the universe ignited. These collections of stars, dating from nearly 13.7 billion years ago, would have brought the cosmos out of the dark ages, the murky era that followed the universe's explosive birth.

Although the stars would have died out billions of years ago, the light they emitted would only now be reaching Earth.

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