NASA Finds Most Distant Object in the Universe to Date

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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  • widj
    so if you want to look for the past, look at the stars?
  • sseyler
    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 ( 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.


  • shoelessinsight
    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
  • fazers_on_stun
    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..
  • JonnyDough
    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.
  • widj
    so if you want to look for the past, look at the stars?