The video: The Hubble Space Telescope recently detected a small galaxy in the outer reaches of the universe that is a stunning 13.2 billion years old, an article in the journal Nature revealed. The dim cluster of stars, which goes by the catchy moniker UDFj-39546284, was born when the universe had existed for only 480 million years, "an era when stars and galaxies were first lighting up the universe," says The New York Times. (Watch a clip about this elderly galaxy, below.) Scientists pinpointed the galaxy using Hubble's infrared-detecting Wide Field Camera, installed in 2009. Over the course of months, they determined that a tiny red smudge was the "most primordial galaxy yet found," 150 million years older than the previous record holder. (More analysis is stilll needed to cement the scientists' claims.)
The reaction: "Hubble's still got it," says Brian Vastag at The Washington Post. Though with the "quickening deep-space race among astronomers to bag and tag ever-older objects," it's only a matter of days before there's a new winner. Never mind Hubble, says Jeffrey Kruger at Time — just wait until we get information "from the long-awaited James Webb space telescope," the Hubble sequel, which is set to debut in 2015. That should really help us understand what was happening in the early days after the Big Bang. Watch a NASA scientist explain the startling discovery:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week