Astronomers can't send a telescope billions of light-years into space to take close-ups of the most remote galaxies, but they appear to have done the next best thing. Researchers say they've found a class of galaxies in our cosmic backyard that are nearly identical to some faraway ones.
By studying the easily observed nearby population, astronomers may have a novel tool for probing the long-ago era during which the first starlit bodies formed, notes Tim Heckman of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He and his colleagues, including Roderik Overzier of Johns Hopkins, report their findings online (http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0709.3304).
The team first used NASA's GALEX observatory to find nearby galaxies with the same pattern of ultraviolet light as