Japanese Team Spots 'Oldest Galaxy'

Astronomers believe galaxy is nearly 13 billion years old

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff | Suggested by AstroDude

Posted Jun 13, 2012 5:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, light was apparently emitted that has now been detected by Japanese astronomers using telescopes at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano. The team says the galaxy is 12.91 billion light years away and is the oldest one ever detected, having formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang. Other teams have reported spotting even older galaxies, but the Japanese claim is more "watertight," a California Institute of Technology expert in cosmology and galaxy formation tells the AP. "It's the most distant bullet-proof one that everybody believes."

The oldest galaxy in this Hubble photo is a 600-million-year-old whippersnapper.
The oldest galaxy in this Hubble photo is a 600-million-year-old whippersnapper.   (AP Photo/NASA, European Space Agency)
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