Universe  ID: 12244

Young Galaxy

Light can only travel so fast. When we gaze across the universe at its most distant objects with telescopes, we see light that is billions of years old just now catching up with us. Peering back far enough, the glow from the very first galaxies comes into focus. In March 2016, scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope announced that they had spotted the farthest galaxy ever seen. Called GN-z11, it came into existence just 400 million years after the Big Bang. The galaxy’s young blue stars shine a million times brighter than our sun. Their light stretches as it treks across the expanding cosmos, turning from shorter blue wavelengths into longer red wavelengths. Unlike the familiar spiral shapes observed for most galaxies, GN-z11 has a clumpier appearance. In Hubble images, the patchy distribution of its stars resembles ink spilled on paper. By observing faraway galaxies like GN-z11, scientists can better understand how such massive structures form and evolve. Explore the video and images to learn more.

Story Credits

Garth Illingworth (UC Santa Cruz)

Lead Writer:
Alison Takemura (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
GN-z11 image and video courtesy of NASA/ESA/STScI/G. Bacon and NASA/ESA/Yale University/P. Oesch and P. van Dokkum, STScI/G. Brammer, UC Santa Cruz/G. Illingworth
Universe timeline image courtesy of NASA/ESA/UC Santa Cruz/B. Robertson, STScI/A. Feild
Hubble galaxy image courtesy of NASA/ESA/STScI/A. Aloisi
Hubble spacecraft image courtesy of NASA

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