Washington: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has recently spotted a diminutive object that is estimated to be over 13 billion light-years away; this is supposed to be one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen.
Study leader, Adi Zitrin of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena explained that this object would be a unique example of what was suspected to be an abundant, underlying population of extremely small and faint galaxies at about 500 million years after the big bang and that scientists should continue looking for such objects in space so that people can understand how galaxies and the universe had evolved over time.
The found galaxy appeared as a tiny blob that is only a small fraction of the size of our Milky Way galaxy. But offered a peek back into a time when the universe was only about 500 million years old, roughly 3 percent of its current age of 13.7 billion years.
This new detection would be considered as one of the most reliable distance measurements of a galaxy as the scientists used two independent methods to estimate its distance.
The Hubble with NASA's other Great Observatories-the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory probed into the early universe by studying large galaxy clusters. The clusters were so massive that their gravity deflected light passing through them, magnifying, brightening, and distorting background objects in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. These powerful lenses allowed astronomers to find many dim, distant structures that were otherwise too faint to see.
The scientists used the color-analysis technique to find the distance of the galaxy from Earth and were about 95 percent confident that this object was at a remote distance, at redshift 10 (a measure of the stretching of space since the big bang).
An analysis of the distant galaxy showed that it measured merely 850 light-years across, 500 times smaller than the Milky Way, and was estimated to have a mass of only 40 million suns. The galaxy's star formation rate was about one star every three years (one-third the star formation rate in the Milky Way). Although this may seem low, but Zitrin said that given its small size and low mass, the tiny galaxy was in fact rapidly evolving and efficiently forming stars.