Not only is the galaxy so far away, astronomers have discovered it at a crucial point in its development.
It’s been an exciting week for astronomers at NASA who have discovered a galaxy at a distant furthest away than they’ve ever seen before.
The galaxy cluster known as CL J1001 is situated around a massive 11.1 billion light years from Earth and was spotted by a team at NASA using several different observatories and telescopes including the Chandra X-ray observatory located at the Hubble Space Telescope.
But its distance isn’t the only thing getting NASA excited. The galaxy is also at a stage where it’s forming at a considerable pace leading to experts believing the discovery has been made at a point right after its birth. It’s thought to be in a stage where a forming cluster is transforming into a mature cluster – something that has never been witnessed before by astronomers.
To put it on more relatable terms, the galaxy clusters contains 11 galaxies within its core and nine of those galaxies are forming stars at a considerable speed – the equivalent of around 3,000 suns a year.
Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, who led the study stated that “this galaxy cluster isn’t just remarkable for its distance, it’s also going through an amazing growth spurt unlike any we’ve ever seen.”
The discovery is allowing experts to glimpse into the past since it takes 11.1 billion light years to reach Earth from the cluster. It also means the earliest galaxy clusters originally formed around 700 million years sooner than previously thought.
Details of the discovery was published in the Astrophysical Journal.