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New cosmic distance record-holder

Galaxy hails from a time when the universe was a mere 600 million years old

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1:55pm, October 20, 2010

A tiny galaxy from the depths of cosmic space and time has become the most distant astronomical object known. At a distance of 13.071 billion light-years, the galaxy is so remote that the light now reaching Earth left the starlit body less than 600 million years after the Big Bang.

Matthew Lehnert of the Observatory of Paris in Meudon, France, and his colleagues describe the discovery in the October 21 Nature.

The galaxy, dubbed UDFy-38135539, was initially identified as a distant candidate from visible-light and infrared images recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3. But the brightness of the body at different wavelengths, while consistent with

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