Skip to content
Search AI Powered

Latest Stories

Hubble Shatters Cosmic Distance Record to Look Into The Universe’s Past

Hubble Shatters Cosmic Distance Record to Look Into The Universe’s Past

A new study shows a galaxy that existed 13.4 billion light years away, breaking the cosmic distance record.

[DIGEST: Washington Post, BBC, Hubble Space Telescope, Christian Science Monitor]

The Hubble Space Telescope may be on its last legs, but it appears destined to go out with a bang. The 25-year-old Hubble recently displayed an image of a galaxy 13.4 billion light years away, a distance once thought to be impossible to see with current technology.

“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble,” said Yale University astrophysicist Pascal Oesch. The galaxy, named GN-z11, existed 400 million years after the Big Bang. In other words, GN-z11 existed when the Universe was just 3 percent its current estimated age of 13.7 billion years.

Credit: Source.

The galaxy burned so hot, it was bright blue and had a rate of star formation ten times that of our Milky Way.

“It really is star bursting,” says Gabriel Brammer, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “We’re getting closer and closer to when we think the first stars formed.”

When viewed from a magnified image from the Hubble, GN-z11 appears as an amorphous dark red splotch rather than a vibrant blue. That’s because of something called redshift, which is a result of the expansion of the Universe. The farther an object is from us through time and space, the more the light is stretched to longer, redder wavelengths. Previously, the galaxy believed to be the farthest in time and space from Earth had a redshift of 8.68. GN-z11 has been assigned a redshift of 11.1.

Scientists made GN-z11’s identification using the Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, which was installed in 2009. The team of astronomers behind the discovery

used a new method to analyze light from the far-flung galaxy. Instead of using a standard light wave signature marker to measure the spectrum precisely with a ground telescope, astronomers looked beyond to a longer but messier light wave spectrum.

The longer spectrum may have been noisier and harder to interpret than a standard spectrum, but Oesch says the measurement of the galaxy’s distance was as clean as possible. He adds that this new technique is becoming standard.

"This really represents the pinnacle of Hubble's exploration of galaxies across cosmic history," says Oesch. “Hubble has proven once again, even after almost 26 years in space, just how special it is.”

However, not all scientists are on board with the GN-z11’s reported cosmic distance. "The Hubble grism [grating prism] is a very low-resolution instrument and, in deep fields, all the spectra overlap and it requires considerable effort to disentangle the signals,“ says Richard Ellis of the European Southern Observatory, who found the galaxy that held the previous record. He adds that "the ultimate proof can only come from a higher resolution spectrum" such as that of the Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2019.

More from News

Dubai Princess Publicly Demands 'Divorce' From Cheating Royal Husband In Blunt Instagram Post

Dubai Princess Publicly Demands 'Divorce' From Cheating Royal Husband In Blunt Instagram Post

In an unexpected move, Her Highness Sheikha Mahra bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai princess, addressed her husband's infidelity on Instagram, declaring their divorce.

Sheikha Mahra, who is daughter of the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wrote a scathing and short message to her husband.

Keep ReadingShow less
TikTok screenshot of Jodi Benson watching daughter sing; Ariel from the 1989 'The Little Mermaid'
@coolzjay/TikTok; Disney

'Little Mermaid' Star Jodi Benson Tears Up Watching Daughter Sing 'Part Of Your World' On Stage

A clip of the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, watching her daughter Delaney play the lead role in a stage production of The Little Mermaid has gone viral, and Benson revealed she was moved to tears by the performance.

Posted to TikTok, the video has already garnered more than 4.2 million views in only a few days, and people on the platform said they got a bit emotional, as well.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale's Custom Swimsuit Sends Blunt Message To Her Haters Online

British actor Kate Beckinsale has no time for trolls criticizing her looks.

Instead of addressing haters' unsolicited assessments of her online, the 50-year-old actor came for them with a fierce fashion statement that said it all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kit Connor
Karwai Tang/WireImage/GettyImages

Kit Connor Is Rumored To Be Top Choice For Gay MCU Superhero—And 'Heartstopper' Fans Are So Into It

Fans of Heartstopper were absolutely chuffed and crossing their fingers after hearing rumors that British actor Kit Connor was being considered to play a known LGBTQ+ superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The 20-year-old has been acting since he was just 8 in numerous TV and film projects, including roles in the 2018 films The Mercy, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. He also portrayed a teenaged Elton John in 2019's Rocketman and voiced Pantalaimon in the HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials.

Keep ReadingShow less
yellow smiley face balloons
Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

People Explain Which Things Massively Improved Their Mental Health

It wasn't that long ago that mental health was only spoken of in hushed whispers due to ignorance and stigma.

But with education and awareness efforts, more people are paying attention to their own mental health and that of the people they care about.

Keep ReadingShow less