Scientists say they have discovered at least seven galaxies
Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope said on Wednesday December 12 that they have discovered at least seven new galaxies dating to the near the beginning of the universe, including one they believe is the oldest galaxy observed so far.
Because the light from the galaxies took so long to reach the telescope, scientists are seeing these galaxies as they were 13.3 billion years ago. They will ultimately offer lessons about the formation of the universe some 13.7 billion years ago.The team's findings will be published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
"These are baby pictures of the universe," one scientist said in a briefing for reporters at NASA Headquarters in Washington today. This was a period where the universe was filled with hydrogen and starting to form the galaxies and stars that ultimately were the source of life on Earth.
"This is the first statistically robust census of galaxies at such an early time in cosmic history," the Hubble team said in a press release, "and shows that the number of galaxies steadily increased with time, supporting the idea that the first galaxies didn't form in a sudden burst but gradually assembled their stars."