Amorphous space blob takes title for most distant galaxy

distant galaxy

GOING THE DISTANCE  The most distant confirmed galaxy (blue) is seen as it was when the universe was 650 million years old in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. 

P. Oesch and I. Momcheva (Yale University), and the 3D-HST and HUDF09/XDF teams, NASA, ESA

The new record holder for the most distant galaxy is an amorphous blob of billions of stars whose light took more than 13 billion years to reach Earth. Dubbed EGS-zs8-1, the galaxy sits in the constellation Boötes and is the brightest known galaxy in the early universe, researchers report May 5 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. EGS-zs8-1’s brightness indicates that the galaxy had already built up roughly 8 billion suns when the light left for Earth.

By studying a galaxy as it was when the universe was a mere 650 million years old, astronomers hope to better understand how seeds of gas and dark matter eventually grow to the majestic spiral and elliptical galaxies that exist today.

Christopher Crockett is an Associate News Editor. He was formerly the astronomy writer from 2014 to 2017, and he has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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