Like the rockers in “This Is Spinal Tap,” astronomers cranked the dials on the Hubble Space Telescope up to 11 to identify what they say is the farthest-out galaxy ever detected, from a time when the universe was a mere 400 million years old.
The light from the galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major, known as GN-z11, was sent out 13.4 billion years ago, astronomers report in a study to be published in theAstrophysical Journal. That light-year measurement surpasses the distances that were recorded for two faraway galaxies over the past year.
The researchers say this record is likely to stand until NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope comes online.
“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble,” Yale astronomer Pascal Oesch said in a news release.