Friday, October 22, 2010

Hubble Space Telescope captures oldest galaxy

Astronomers believe they’ve found a galaxy from 13.1 billion years ago. The oldest and most distant object seen so far, UDFy-38135539 appears as a small smudge of light in a Hubble Space Telescope photograph. Matthew Lehnert of the Paris Observatory, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature, and fellow European astronomers calculated the age after 16 hours of observations from a telescope in Chile. "We're looking at the universe when it was a 20th of its current age," said Caltech astronomy professor Richard Ellis. The finding is important because it fits with theories about when the first stars and galaxies were born.