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Hubble space telescope helps find farthest known galaxy in the Universe

Washington, Nov 17 (): With the help of the combining power of NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and one type of zoom lenses used from nature, astronomers have discovered what is possibly be the farthest known galaxy ever discovered in Universe.

The recently discovered galaxy is named as MACS0647-JD. It was named so as the galaxy was formed 420 million years ago after Big Bang. The light of the galaxy took 13.3 billion years to travel and reach Earth.

This galaxy is the recent discovery from Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) that uses the massive clusters in galaxy as the cosmic telescopes, which are used to magnify the distant galaxies found behind them. This effect is called as gravitational lensing.

Rychard Bouwens of Leiden University in Netherlands and one of the co-authors of this study said, “While we occasionally assume to find out a really distant galaxy by using remarkable power of the gravitational lensing method, this recent discovery has surpassed my expectations that what I have thought would be achieved with CLASH program. The result in this look has been very incredible”.

On the way, in its journey into 8 billion years, the light of the galaxy took a diversion along several paths around this massive cluster of galaxy MACS J0647.7+7015.

By using gravitational lensing, researchers’ team observed 3 magnified pictures of MACS0647-JD using Hubble telescope. The gravity of the cluster boosted light from faraway galaxy, thus making the pictures appear brighter than the galaxy usually would be, although the images still look as small dots in the Hubble’s portrait.

Marc Postman, leader of CLASH team told that these clusters do what no man-made telescope can do. Without magnification, the discovery would need Herculean power to see this new galaxy.

The objects are so small that it might be in first stage of the formation of galaxy, with analysis revealing that the galaxy is less than 600 light-years across. The Milky Way galaxy is 150,000 light-years across. The mass of this new galaxy is estimated to be roughly 100 million or a billion suns, or 0.1 – 1% the mass of our Milky Way’s stars.

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