Science & Tech

Astronomers May Have Just Discovered The Most Distant Galaxy Yet


HD1 is pictured right here, zoomed in, as a crimson spot in a crowded cosmos.

Harikane et al.

A galaxy born simply after the cosmic darkish ages, when the universe was solely about 330 million years previous, often is the farthest cosmic object ever noticed, however the true nature of the article stays very a lot a thriller. 

Two new research, printed on April 7, current the case that an astronomical object — a galaxy — could possibly be as much as 13.5 billion light-years away. They’ve dubbed it HD1 and, if confirmed, it might overtake the present file holder: GN-z11, a galaxy that sits about 13.39 billion light-years away. 

HD1 was found with the assistance of numerous space- and ground-based telescopes, together with NASA’s Spitzer and Japan’s Subaru telescope, located at Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory. Yuichi Harikane, an astronomer on the College of Tokyo and lead writer on one of many new research, mentioned the group searched amongst greater than 700,000 objects to seek out HD1. He famous it was a shocking discover that gave him goosebumps.

The galaxy seems tremendous shiny in UV and provides astronomers some clues about what is occurring. The groups current two theories.

The first is that HD1 is a superpowered starburst galaxy. It could possibly be so shiny as a result of it is producing stars at about 10 instances the speed than anticipated for a standard starburst galaxy and these stars would possibly even be among the earliest stars within the universe. They’re identified to shine brightly in comparison with different stars.

“If we assume the stars produced in HD1 are these first, or Population III, stars, then its properties could be explained more easily,” mentioned Fabio Pacucci, an astronomer on the Middle for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and lead writer on one of many research.

Alternatively, it may be a supermassive black gap feasting on fuel and mud — a violent course of that creates an enormous quantity of sunshine.

The paper additionally describes one other very distant galaxy, HD2, however as a result of it is not fairly as distant it does not get as a lot of the limelight. 

Michael Brown, an astronomer at Monash College in Australia not affiliated with the analysis, famous the group have performed a “perfectly reasonable job at identifying these galaxies and trying to confirm their distances,” however mentioned, “there are reasons for caution.”

Brown famous the strategy used to calculate the space to the galaxy, often called redshift, can generally by means of up multiple resolution. On this occasion, the redshift for HD1 could possibly be 13, which is what the group suggests, or it could possibly be 4 — which might imply the article is billions of light-years nearer.

Affirmation of the galaxy’s distance will present the motivation to discover new bodily processes within the early universe, Harikane famous, as a result of “the existence of HD1 is not expected with the current theoretical models.”  

So how can we verify, precisely, what HD1 is? Extra information, after all. Brown mentioned NASA’s James Webb Area Telescope, which is gearing as much as begin learning the universe within the subsequent few months, might be able to analyzing HD1 and revealing simply how distant it may be. One other NASA telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Telescope, will even assist elucidate the character of HD1 however that is not on account of launch till 2027 on the earliest. 

And for those who’re in search of different distant area objects, why not strive Earendel? NASA’s Hubble lately noticed that star, the farthest star ever noticed, at a distance of 12.9 billion light-years away.

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