08 September 2015 News

Is EGS8p7 the most distant galaxy from Earth?

Researchers at Caltech think they may have found the most distant – and possibly one of the eldest – galaxies in the universe.

The galaxy, dubbed EGS8p7, is estimated to be 13.2 billion years old. According to all the data we have today, the universe itself is 13.8 billion years old.

EGS8p7 was discovered using the MOSFIRE spectrometer on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea (research Mauna Kea, incidentally, has recently resulted in controversy). It is an absolutely fascinating instrument, and the way it gathers information about the cosmos differs radically from traditional methods of calculating redshift. You can read more about it here.

For now we’re left to consider what the conditions are like in one of the oldest galaxies we’ve ever found. Researchers say that it is “unusually luminous,” potentially powered by “unusually hot stars.” What is the night sky like out there? One can only imagine.

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