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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. 

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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.

Neuroscience,, Mental Health

Children with autism excel at motion detection test

By Laura Sanders 5:00pm, May 5, 2015
Children with autism outperform children without the disorder on a test that requires averaging the movements of lots of dots.
Animals,, Physiology

Stretchy nerves help some big whales open wide

By Ashley Yeager 2:44pm, May 4, 2015
Blue whales and their closest relatives have stretchy nerves near their mouths so they can open wide and swallow a lot of prey.
Animals

Beetle’s toxic, explosive vapor explained

By Beth Mole 6:10pm, April 30, 2015
From a two-chambered gland in their rears, bombardier beetles unleash a toxic, blazing hot spray to defend themselves.
Planetary Science

MESSENGER mission ends with crash landing on Mercury

By Christopher Crockett 3:44pm, April 30, 2015
The MESSENGER mission to Mercury came to a spectacular end as the probe crashed into the planet’s surface.
Animals,, Conservation

Climate change revs up extinction risks

By Beth Mole 2:00pm, April 30, 2015
One in six species on the planet may face extinction if the global temperatures continue to rise.
Animals

Rock-wielding monkeys make adjustments when cracking nuts

By Bruce Bower 12:00pm, April 30, 2015
Videos show that monkeys carefully pound open nuts to avoid smashing kernels inside.
Planetary Science

Pluto’s landscapes come into view as New Horizons closes in

By Christopher Crockett 6:28pm, April 29, 2015
The New Horizons spacecraft sees surface markings and a possible polar cap on Pluto as it closes in for a July encounter.
Animals,, Paleontology,, Evolution

Rare fossils expand evolutionary history of sperm whales

By Helen Thompson 4:14pm, April 29, 2015
A pygmy fossil unearthed in Panama reveals that the organ the whales use to produce sound and echolocate shrunk over time.
Animals,, Genetics

Woolly mammoth DNA shows toll of low diversity

By Helen Thompson 1:39pm, April 27, 2015
A new sequencing analysis of two woolly mammoth genomes reveals evidence of genetic decline due to isolation and inbreeding just prior to extinction.
Microbes

City- and country-dwelling microbes aren’t so different

By Bethany Brookshire 3:29pm, April 24, 2015
A new study reveals the microbial communities in our nation’s dust.
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