“A new image from NASA’s Hubble Telescope has provided astronomers with the earliest snapshot ever taken of galaxies in the universe’s infancy, about 600 million years after the Big Bang. The deep look into the ancient cosmos revealed baby galaxies very different from those that exist now. ‘We’re seeing very small galaxies that are the seeds of the galaxies today,’ said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz. These galaxies, which are very blue and only 1/20 the size of our own Milky Way, may help to explain where the first stars came from. After the bright energy of the Big Bang — which took place about 13.7 billion years ago — the universe became a dark place. For hundreds of millions of years there were no stars or galaxies, mostly hydrogen and helium gas and a faint glow. Then something happened around 400 million years ago that caused the first points of light, the stars, to be born and end the dark age. The stars shot off a lot of ultraviolet energy that ‘reionized’ the universe’s hydrogen gas, giving it a charge.”
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