A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology has just found what may be the oldest galaxy in the known universe. They galaxy was codenamed EGS8p7, but it is dubbed by the media as the farthest galaxy.
The galaxy is believed to be older than 13 billion years, making it almost as old as the universe itself, which nearly 13 billion years old.
The team of astronomers and experts used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope to establish which are the most distant galaxies in the universe with extremely accurate statistical data. The research paper was published in the journal Natural Communications and in Astrophysical Journal Letters this month.
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology reported that they found a galaxy that was formed right after the Big Bang gave birth to the universe. How do they know that? Well, scientists claim that the farther a galaxy, the fainter and redder it is in color. However, when trying to determine the age of the universe’s most distant objects things become more complicated. The shade of red is explained by the lower energy of a photon’s wavelength stretch. When space expands, it doesn’t just cause the radiation rates of the universe to drop in density, but also gives the light a slight shade of red by stretching its wavelength.
The university previously stated that they were searching for the earliest objects in the universe for quite a while. By using the MOSFIRE spectograph, astronomers were able to study a large numbers of galaxies at once. When the researchers found EGS8p7 for the first time, they just knew that it has to be the oldest and farthest galaxy detected from Earth yet
Before EGS8p7 was discovered, the farthest galaxy known to man had a redshift of 7.7, whereas the newly discovered object has a redshift of 8.7.
The discovery of EGS8p7 comes with a pile of contradictions. Tech times reports that because the galaxy is this old yet it appears to be uncommonly bright, it contradicts the popular belief that the first billion years of the universe were extremely dark. Astronomers generally thought that darkness lasted for a billion years.
Sirio Belli, Caltech student who was a member of the projects, said that a possible explanation for the galaxy’s brightness could be a population of abnormally hot stars. Belli’s theory is more than viable since EGS8p8’s unusual properties explain why such a large galaxy was able to form much earlier than it was thought to be possible in the early years of the universe.
Photo Credits wikipedia