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Surprising Science

Universe’s Most Distant Galaxies Discovered

Located 10.5 billion light years from Earth, the universe's oldest cluster of galaxies has been discovered by scientists using a powerful new near-infrared camera called FourStar. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Using a powerful new telescope, astronomers have found the Universe’s oldest galaxies at a distance of 10.5 billion light years from Earth. Because the galaxy clusters emit only infrared light, they have gone undetected by space sleuths like the Hubble Telescope, which has searched this particular region of the sky for thousands of hours. The new device, called FourStar, is a powerful near-infrared camera attached to the 6.5m Magellan Baade Telescope at at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile

What’s the Big Idea?

Because our solar system is surrounded by the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers need a method of determining whether a light in the sky is a star in our own galaxy, a small but nearby galaxy or a large but distant galaxy. The FourStar camera is helping astronomers do just that. “From the first six months of the survey, the team obtained accurate distances for faint galaxies over a region roughly one-fifth the apparent size of the Moon.” And while that is a relatively small amount of the sky, space is a deep place. Thousands of new galaxies have already been discovered.

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