Scientists Discover Galaxies Far, Far, FAR Away—The Farthest Ever Seen

Illustration for article titled Scientists Discover Galaxies Far, Far, FAR Away—The Farthest Ever Seen

Astronomers have discovered the far, far away galaxies. The farthest galaxy cluster ever seen, in fact, a whooping 13.1 billion light-years away. According to the researchers, "these galaxies formed during the earliest stages of galaxy assembly, when galaxies had just started to cluster together."

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They have called them the Protocluster of Galaxies BoRG 58—obviously trying to rip the fundamental fabric of the sci-fi space-time nerd continuum.

The galaxies are about one-half to one-tenth the size of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, but their brightness is similar because they are being fed large amounts of gas from the merging of galaxies. The simulations show that BoRG 58 will finally collapse in a massive elliptical galaxy like M87, in the Virgo Cluster.

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Michele Trenti—from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, England—said that this "confirms our theoretical understanding of the buildup of galaxy clusters." The image was taken with the Wide Field Camera 3, the camera installed in Hubble during the most difficult spacewalk mission ever. The image was taken in visible and near-infrared light.

Illustration for article titled Scientists Discover Galaxies Far, Far, FAR Away—The Farthest Ever Seen

Right: When the galaxies finally merge, they will look like this, the giant M87 in the Virgo Cluster.

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According to Trenti, "the odds of finding something this rare are very small. The search is hit and miss. Typically, a region has nothing, but if we hit the right spot, we can find multiple galaxies."

The study was conducted by Trenti, from the University of Colorado, Boulder and Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, England, Larry Bradley, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, and the BoRG team—which stands for Brightest of Reionizing Galaxies, a team of astronomers searching for these type of galaxies, not the Star Trek villians. Their findings will be published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. [NASA]

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DISCUSSION

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greenlightG

Has anyone else besides me ever considered that we are extremely tiny? Image the universe is a football field and a bug small enough to live on an atom is at the 50 yard line. That bug would have to travel a great distance to go from where it currently is to get to either end zone. Now imagine ant. It is still a huge distance compared to the ant’s body size, but it would be able to travel across the football field over a certain period of time… something the bug living on an atom could never do in one lifetime (with our technology anyway).

Now, if you have ever watched the videos on youtube that compare the size of the sun to other stars, you see how small we really are. I have always wondered if there are other civilizations living on planets around those massive stars. If so, and planets around those stars are relative size to planets that orbit our sun, then maybe there is intelligent life on those planets that are also massive. Maybe compared to us, they are thousands of feet, if not miles, tall. If that is true, then the distances between objects in space are much smaller to them. Also, they would be subject to the same laws of physics as we are, but I would imagine that they would be able to sustain larger forces of gravity, which would allow them to travel at greater speeds. I am not saying they could travel 13.1 billion light years, but it would allow them to travel greater distances with less technology… if that makes sense.

I guess I am a little off topic, but do you think the size of life is dependent on the size of the star it orbits?