Stargazers discover oldest-known galaxy
Astronomers have spotted the oldest galaxy ever seen, one born just 600 million years after the Big Bang.
Their report, published in the journal 'Nature' yesterday, confirms that the distant smudge first spotted by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope is the farthest and thus oldest object ever imaged.
The galaxy has the unglamorous name of UDFy-38135539, the team of European researchers said.
"Here we report the detection of . . . photons emitted less than 600 million years after the Big Bang," they wrote.
Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles (300,000 km) a second, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km) a year.
Astronomers can use light-speed as a kind of time machine, and seeing light emitted from objects very far away shows them as they were in the past.
In this case, the galaxy's light first started travelling 13 billion years ago, right after the Big Bang.