Using NASA’s Hubble telescope, astronomers have found evidence of the universe’s farthest known galaxies. Led by Caltech astrophysicist Richard Ellis, a team of scientists observed light emanating from seven galaxies as they appeared just 380 million years after the big bang set the universe in motion. The scientists looked at a tiny sliver of the sky known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field hoping “to pick up signs of distant galaxies as close to the edge of the universe as Hubble could see, because as scientists look deeper into space, they’re also looking farther back in time.”
What’s the Big Idea?
By observing extremely young galaxies, astronomers are better able to understand what the most basic elements of the universe were like and how they came to form stars like our sun and even our own human bodies. “These galaxies are so young that they existed before many of the atoms in our bodies existed,” said James Bullock, a UC Irvine physics and astronomy professor.Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, will look even deeper into the infrared wavelengths of light and should pick up more galaxies hovering even closer to the universe’s birth.