Scientists have caught a glimpse of the most distant thing humans have ever seen – and it shouldn’t even be able to exist.
The far away object – spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope – is a galaxy a staggering 13.4 billion light years away, reports the Independent.
The huge distance means the light now being seen actually left the galaxy when the universe was in its infancy – just 400 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
The uncovering of the new galaxy will allow scientists to look back into the very formation of the universe.
It’s thought the amazing discovery could lead scientists to question their understanding of the very way the universe evolved – as, apparently, a galaxy that large shouldn’t have been able to exist when the universe was so young.
Dr Pascal Oesch, a member of the team from Yale University, said:
We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble.
We managed to look back in time to measure the distance to a galaxy when the universe was only three per cent of its current age.
According to the Independent, the distance away from the galaxy was measured by splitting up the light into the colours it’s made up of.
Since the universe is expanding, very distant objects stretch towards the red part of the colour spectrum and the more that ‘red shift’ has happened to an object’s image, the further away it is.
With a red shift measuring in at 11.1, the new galaxy – which has been named GN-z11 – has taken the crown from the equally catchily named EGSY8p7 galaxy, which held the previous red shift record of 8.68.
I never cease to be amazed by space…