The stars are a beautiful wonder of the world. What’s even more beautiful is discovering that there are more than just stars in the sky – there are immeasurable galaxies that have yet to be discovered.
Using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, NASA astronomers have found an object in the universe that existed approximately 13.8 billion years ago, approximately 400 million years after the big bang occurred.
The object, nicknamed Tayna by the discovering team, is the faintest object found in space. The Space Association says that it represents a smaller class of newly forming galaxies that until now, have not been able to be detected. Though Tayna is about the size of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, it is currently making stars at about ten times the speed of the Cloud. Researchers believe that at this rate, it is likely that Tayna will become a full-sized galaxy.
Leopoldo Infante, an astronomer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, said the object was found among 21 other young galaxies.
Thanks to this detection, the team has been able to study, for the first time, the properties of extremely faint objects formed not long after the big bang.
The galaxy was discovered after the Hubble telescope came upon a natural “magnifying glass” in space. Through Hubble, researchers found a cluster of galaxies approximately 4 billion light-years away. Because of the size of the cluster, it acts as a magnifier by bending and magnifying the light of objects that are far behind it. This magnification, known as gravitational lensing, acts like a zoom lens on a camera to make the distant objects look approximately 20 times brighter than normal.
Researchers expect that Tayna, as well as other galaxies and objects, will be further explored by the James Webb Space Telescope in the future. The telescope is an infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror and will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2018. They believe the telescope will allow them to find the embryonic stages of galaxy birth.
In other NASA coverage here at Immortal News, the Space Association will grant SpaceX, a private space company, a contract for a manned space flight by 2016.