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NASA Finds Most Distant Object in the Universe to Date

By - Source: NASA | B 65 comments
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NASA believes it has found the most distant galaxy observed to date. MACS0647-JD is just a fraction of the size of the Milky Way and believed to be 13.3 billion light years away.

Since the image displays the galaxy as it existed 13.3 billion years ago, it provides an unprecedented view into the beginnings of our universe as the big bang is theorized to have happened about 13.7 billion years ago. The image of MACS0647-JD represents an environment when the universe was just 420 million years old.

NASA said that it used the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes as well as "natural zoom lenses" to acquire the image.

The organization noted that 8 billion years after MACS0647-JD light had begun its journey, "it took a detour along multiple paths around the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015." The cluster served as magnification source for the light source:

"Because of gravitational lensing, the […] research team was able to observe three magnified images of MACS0647-JD with the Hubble telescope," NASA said. "The cluster's gravity boosted the light from the faraway galaxy, making the images appear about eight, seven, and two times brighter than they otherwise would that enabled astronomers to detect the galaxy more efficiently and with greater confidence."

NASA estimates that MACS0647-JD is less than 600 light years wide, which compares to 150,000 light years of the Milky Way.


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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    widj , November 18, 2012 3:49 PM
    so if you want to look for the past, look at the stars?
  • 13 Hide
    sseyler , November 18, 2012 4:21 PM
    upgrade_1977What I don't get, is that if this object is 13.3 billion light years away, and the age of the universe as theorized is 13.75 billion years, then that would put us on the very edge of the universe, so if we looked in the other direction of the universe, we should only be able to see 0.45 billion light years in the other direction, which means we would have already been able to see the edge of the universe. If we can see 13.3 billion light years in the other direction, then that means the age of the universe is at minimum age 26.6 billion years old. Is this not common sense? So that means all the theories about the age of the universe is way off. Even if we are close to the edge of the universe, say 3 quarters of the way by the edge, that still adds of to way more then 13.75 billion light years. Also, I doubt we are in the center of the universe, but if when we look in all directions, and we can see equal distances, then i'm assuming the universe is much larger then theorized.


    The reason why you are not right is because the "edge" of the universe, if there is one, is not like the surface of a sphere in which we reside. We are also NOT at the center of the universe. The universe expands about every point uniformly, so while it appears that everything is moving away from us, it looks like that from every other part of the universe as well. See this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Expansion_of_Space_%28Galaxies%29.png) and the corresponding wiki page for some clarification.

    Albeit I have hardly touched on some ideas that your questions purport to explain, you can be well assured that thousands of cosmologists, astronomers, and other physicists haven't just made a simple arithmetic error (as you've suggested) when talking about the expansion of the universe.

    Cheers,

    sseyler
  • 11 Hide
    shoelessinsight , November 18, 2012 6:38 PM
    A few points about this:

    First of all, the universe is expanding in such a way that points very distant from each other are being separated from each other at a rate greater than c (the speed of light in a vacuum). The speed limit of c applies in a local sense, not a cosmological one. Additionally, nothing in the universe is moving through space faster than c, but rather space itself is expanding in a way that allows distant objects to separate relatively faster than c. Finally, there is no information being exchanged between two such points, so there is no violation of Relativity (and, in fact, no information will ever be exchanged between two such points due to their relative velocities).

    Typically, when scientists point their telescopes into the sky and talk about looking to the farthest reaches and earliest times of the universe, they're talking about the observable universe. It is understood that the whole universe is much larger than what we can see (very possibly infinite), but scientists don't concern themselves too much with what's beyond the observable universe because it is, by definition, unobservable.

    The reason it is unobservable boils down to two reasons: first, the universe at a very young age was opaque to light (meaning it couldn't travel anywhere but between local atoms), so we won't be able to see anything that's more distant than that period. Second, and even more limiting, is that fact I mentioned before that expansion is faster than c. That means that the light from those distant parts of the universe will never ever reach us unless we find some way to travel faster than c ourselves (currently thought impossible).

    Incidentally, we are at the center of the observable universe, in the same way that you are at the center of your own personal field of view. But just as there is more world beyond what you can see, there is almost certainly more universe beyond what we can ever hope to see.
Other Comments
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  • 5 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , November 18, 2012 3:21 PM
    I doubt they'll be able to spot things much further back -- IIRC the universe was opaque to EM radiation for quite some time after the Big Bang..
  • 8 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 18, 2012 3:38 PM
    MACS0647-JD is just a fraction of the size of the Milky Way and believed to be 13.3 billion light years away.

    MACS0647-JD WAS just a fraction of the size of the Milky Way and is believed to have beenbe 13.3 billion light years away.

    Fixed! By the time the light reached us this galaxy was already long gone - as was reported in the rest of the article.
  • 17 Hide
    widj , November 18, 2012 3:49 PM
    so if you want to look for the past, look at the stars?
  • -7 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 18, 2012 3:52 PM
    What I don't get, is that if this object is 13.3 billion light years away, and the age of the universe as theorized is 13.75 billion years, then that would put us on the very edge of the universe, so if we looked in the other direction of the universe, we should only be able to see 0.45 billion light years in the other direction, which means we would have already been able to see the edge of the universe. If we can see 13.3 billion light years in the other direction, then that means the age of the universe is at minimum age 26.6 billion years old. Is this not common sense? So that means all the theories about the age of the universe is way off. Even if we are close to the edge of the universe, say 3 quarters of the way by the edge, that still adds of to way more then 13.75 billion light years. Also, I doubt we are in the center of the universe, but if when we look in all directions, and we can see equal distances, then i'm assuming the universe is much larger then theorized.

  • 5 Hide
    mouse24 , November 18, 2012 4:17 PM
    upgrade_1977-snip


    I am sure you know better than all the scientists in the world based on some very rough guess work and five seconds of googling.
  • 13 Hide
    sseyler , November 18, 2012 4:21 PM
    upgrade_1977What I don't get, is that if this object is 13.3 billion light years away, and the age of the universe as theorized is 13.75 billion years, then that would put us on the very edge of the universe, so if we looked in the other direction of the universe, we should only be able to see 0.45 billion light years in the other direction, which means we would have already been able to see the edge of the universe. If we can see 13.3 billion light years in the other direction, then that means the age of the universe is at minimum age 26.6 billion years old. Is this not common sense? So that means all the theories about the age of the universe is way off. Even if we are close to the edge of the universe, say 3 quarters of the way by the edge, that still adds of to way more then 13.75 billion light years. Also, I doubt we are in the center of the universe, but if when we look in all directions, and we can see equal distances, then i'm assuming the universe is much larger then theorized.


    The reason why you are not right is because the "edge" of the universe, if there is one, is not like the surface of a sphere in which we reside. We are also NOT at the center of the universe. The universe expands about every point uniformly, so while it appears that everything is moving away from us, it looks like that from every other part of the universe as well. See this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Expansion_of_Space_%28Galaxies%29.png) and the corresponding wiki page for some clarification.

    Albeit I have hardly touched on some ideas that your questions purport to explain, you can be well assured that thousands of cosmologists, astronomers, and other physicists haven't just made a simple arithmetic error (as you've suggested) when talking about the expansion of the universe.

    Cheers,

    sseyler
  • -3 Hide
    mesab66 , November 18, 2012 4:41 PM
    +1
  • 10 Hide
    nukemaster , November 18, 2012 5:05 PM
    drwho1"Since the image displays the galaxy as it existed 13.3 billion years ago, it provides an unprecedented view into the beginnings of our universe as the big bang is theorized to have happened about 13.7 billion years ago."So how exactly NASA took a picture from a time where there were no cameras in existence, when it is still hard to take a still picture from a moving object today.just saying....

    I hope that is sarcasm. Light from that distance is JUST getting here NOW.

    Even out own suns light takes about 8 minutes to reach the earth.
  • -1 Hide
    flen , November 18, 2012 5:10 PM
    To upgrade_1977, I think its because the universe expands faster than the speed of light
  • 7 Hide
    stingstang , November 18, 2012 5:12 PM
    HAH! What a little bitch. Our Galaxy would F that one up!
  • 1 Hide
    surfer1337dude , November 18, 2012 5:16 PM
    drwho1"Since the image displays the galaxy as it existed 13.3 billion years ago, it provides an unprecedented view into the beginnings of our universe as the big bang is theorized to have happened about 13.7 billion years ago."So how exactly NASA took a picture from a time where there were no cameras in existence, when it is still hard to take a still picture from a moving object today.just saying....

    The idea is that the light had to take that long to travel through space for us to be able to see it (see comment from nukemaster), So the image wasn't taken that long ago as your comment suggests, but rather the light you see started its travel 13 billion years ago and has only now reached us. Also as far as taking an image while moving, we are moving so slowly relative to where we are taking the images. See Einsteins theory of relativity to get a better explanation (I am far from an expert).

    flenTo upgrade_1977, I think its because the universe expands faster than the speed of light

    Nothing is suppose to move faster then the speed of light from my understanding of physics.
  • -5 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 18, 2012 5:19 PM
    sseylerThe reason why you are not right is because the "edge" of the universe, if there is one, is not like the surface of a sphere in which we reside. We are also NOT at the center of the universe. The universe expands about every point uniformly, so while it appears that everything is moving away from us, it looks like that from every other part of the universe as well. See this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Expansion_of_Space_%28Galaxies%29.png) and the corresponding wiki page for some clarification.Albeit I have hardly touched on some ideas that your questions purport to explain, you can be well assured that thousands of cosmologists, astronomers, and other physicists haven't just made a simple arithmetic error (as you've suggested) when talking about the expansion of the universe.Cheers,sseyler


    Hey, everyone used to think the world was flat, just cuz everyone thinks they are right doesn't mean they are right. And also, common sense doesn't just get thrown out the window because you want it to. Please explain to me how we can see 13.3 billion light years in two opposite directions? The age of the universe is not relative to our viewpoint. If all those scientist's are right, then we would be on the very edge of the universe. and you we would be able to see the edge of the universe, as it would only be .45 billion light years away. Neah, I think "ALL" the scientists who believe that the universe is 13.75 billion years old are just wrong. I don't care how many of them who believe that, you don't just throw common sense out the window. I actually believe the universe is infinite, if if there was a big bang, then our whole universe is probably just on the inside of a black hole, or maybe there is just billions of big bangs and space separates different universes. Honestly, where do scientist's get these calculations, like how many particles are in the known universe, lol, how could they possibly know that? If they are right, then they would have all the answers now wouldn't they. Believe whatever you want though.
  • 4 Hide
    surfer1337dude , November 18, 2012 5:19 PM
    nebunif you believe in the BIGBANG you, my friend are a moron

    You have a better explanation? Lets hear it.
  • -1 Hide
    kingnoobe , November 18, 2012 5:21 PM
    What nebun you believe in adam and eve? lol.

    While I don't believe in anything as far as big bang and religious bs goes I won't dismiss it either. Bottom line is nobody knows, and I doubt we ever will. Unless you can enlighten us nebun..
  • 2 Hide
    stingstang , November 18, 2012 5:28 PM
    upgrade_1977Hey, everyone used to think the world was flat, just cuz everyone thinks they are right doesn't mean they are right. And also, common sense doesn't just get thrown out the window because you want it to. Please explain to me how we can see 13.3 billion light years in two opposite directions? The age of the universe is not relative to our viewpoint. If all those scientist's are right, then we would be on the very edge of the universe. and you we would be able to see the edge of the universe, as it would only be .45 billion light years away. Neah, I think "ALL" the scientists who believe that the universe is 13.75 billion years old are just wrong. I don't care how many of them who believe that, you don't just throw common sense out the window. I actually believe the universe is infinite, if if there was a big bang, then our whole universe is probably just on the inside of a black hole, or maybe there is just billions of big bangs and space separates different universes. Honestly, where do scientist's get these calculations, like how many particles are in the known universe, lol, how could they possibly know that? If they are right, then they would have all the answers now wouldn't they. Believe whatever you want though.

    There's a dimension you're missing in this equation. If the theoretical point of the big bang was right between us and this galaxy, both points would be only 6.65 billion light years away from that point. That means that we could turn around and look another 7.1 billion light years in the other direction. Actually, if we use this point as the theoretical edge of the universe in that direction, and found one other edge, we could calculate where the universe started! (again, theoretically of course)
  • 0 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 18, 2012 5:34 PM
    flenTo upgrade_1977, I think its because the universe expands faster than the speed of light


    I've actually read about this, they say it's true, the universe is actually moving faster then the speed of light, but wouldn't that mean that the universe "IS" actually bigger then the speed of light dictates, and that light would actually take longer to get to us because of that? Which would support my theory.
  • -8 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 18, 2012 5:49 PM
    stingstangThere's a dimension you're missing in this equation. If the theoretical point of the big bang was right between us and this galaxy, both points would be only 6.65 billion light years away from that point. That means that we could turn around and look another 7.1 billion light years in the other direction. Actually, if we use this point as the theoretical edge of the universe in that direction, and found one other edge, we could calculate where the universe started! (again, theoretically of course)


    I don't understand what you mean, they discovered this galaxy 13.3 billion light years away, regardless of where in the universe the big bang took place, relative to us, we would still be on the edge of the universe, but we aren't, so it can't be true.
  • 5 Hide
    dicfeynman , November 18, 2012 5:53 PM
    @upgrade_1977
    word to the wise

    the radius is not the biggest line that can be drawn inside a circle
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