Japanese astronomers claim to have found the oldest galaxy in the universe using telescopes at the Hawaii observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, The Guardian reports.
The scientists estimate that the galaxy, called SXDF-NB1006-2, is 12.91 billion light years away from Earth (a light year is the distance that light travels in one year, which is about 6 trillion miles).
Can we be certain that it’s really the oldest galaxy?
Not completely. Other astronomers have made similar claims in the past using NASA’s Hubble telescope. In 2011, a group from California spotted a galaxy 13.2 billion light years away. The year before that, a French group found a galaxy 13.1 billion light years away.
However, Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology told the AP that neither groups have proved their findings with other methods and the Japanese claim was more “watertight.”
Astronomers think that our universe began 13.7 billion years ago at the Big Bang. The new findings will help them understand the nature of the universe when the first stars began to shine hundreds of millions of years later.
The red galaxy at the centre of the image is the most distant galaxy:
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