Share

News Release Archive:

News Release 99 of 959

November 15, 2012 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2012-36

NASA Great Observatories Find Candidate for Most Distant Galaxy Yet Known

Back

Image: Distant Galaxy Lensed by Cluster MACS J0647

Distant Galaxy Lensed by Cluster MACS J0647STScI-PRC2012-36a

Screen-use options: These files are created for viewing on your monitor

Print-use download options: These files are designed to fit on letter-size paper


ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

In this image, astronomers use NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and a cosmic zoom lens to uncover the farthest known galaxy in the universe.

The newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, is very young and only a tiny fraction of the size of our Milky Way. The object is observed 420 million years after the big bang, when the universe was 3 percent of its present age of 13.7 billion years. The inset at left shows a close-up of the young dwarf galaxy.

This is the latest discovery from a large program that uses massive clusters of galaxies as natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe. Called the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH), the program allows astronomers to use the gravity of massive galaxy clusters to magnify distant galaxies behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing.

In this Hubble observation, astronomers used the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015 as the giant cosmic telescope. The bright yellow galaxies near the center of the image are cluster members. The cluster's gravity boosted the light from the faraway galaxy, making its image appear approximately eight times brighter than it otherwise would. The gravitational lensing technique allowed astronomers to detect the galaxy more efficiently and with greater confidence. Without the cluster's magnification powers, astronomers would not have seen this remote galaxy.

This image is a composite taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The observations were taken Oct. 5 and Nov. 29, 2011.

Object Names: MACS J0647+7015, MACS0647-JD

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Postman and D. Coe (STScI), and the CLASH Team

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Galaxy Cluster MACS J0647 Image Type: Astronomical Galaxy Cluster MACS J0647 Lensed Object MACS0647-JD Image Type: Astronomical Lensed Object MACS0647-JD

All images from this news release:

To access available information and downloadable versions of images in this news release, click on any of the images below: