Most Distant Galaxy on Record

Image (Credit): This timeline illustrates the earliest galaxy candidates as well as the history of the universe.(Harikane et al., NASA, EST and P. Oesch/Yale)

Just recently I posted about the discovery of the farthest star. Well, now astronomers have spotted the farthest galaxy. The Harvard Gazette reports that a galaxy named HD1 appears to be about 13.5 billion light-years away and may contain the universe’s first stars or even the earliest black hole discovered to date. The contents of this galaxy is still being studied (and theorized).

The story quotes Fabio Pacucci, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics who was involved in the discovery, who stated:

Answering questions about the nature of a source so far away can be challenging… It’s like guessing the nationality of a ship from the flag it flies, while being faraway ashore, with the vessel in the middle of a gale and dense fog. One can maybe see some colors and shapes of the flag, but not in their entirety. It’s ultimately a long game of analysis and exclusion of implausible scenarios.

More review of the data as well as updated data from the James Webb Space Telescope at some point in the future should help to answer questions related to this galaxy.

You can read more about this discover in the Astrophysical Journal. You may also be interested in the accompanying paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters,