Scientists have just found a galaxy so far away from Earth that it offers a glimpse back in time to the Big Bang.
The galaxy, discovered at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, lies about 13.2 billion light years from Earth, farther than any other galaxy ever measured. This distance means that researchers who are observing the galaxy’s stars today are seeing them as they were just 600 million years after the Big Bang, according to a press release from the observatory. The universe was created about 13.8 billion years ago, based on modern estimates.
California Institute of Technology astronomer Adi Zitrin, lead author of the discovery paper, described the study of distant galaxies: “we penetrate deeper into the Universe, and hence back to earlier times.”
The discovery of this galaxy, known as EGSY8p7, could provide a valuable window into the universe’s past.