This video zooms in on distant galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015 (or MACS J0647 for short). Astronomers used this massive galaxy cluster as a giant cosmic telescope to uncover the farthest known galaxy in the universe to date, called MACS0647-JD.
This is the latest discovery from a large program, called the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH), that uses massive clusters of galaxies as natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe. The program allows astronomers to use the gravity of massive galaxy clusters to magnify distant galaxies behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing.
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.
Publication: November 15, 2012