The oldest galaxy ever spotted in the Universe

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It appears to us here on Earth as it would have looked 11 billion years ago. The universe itself is thought to only be between 13 billion and 14 billion years old. A1689B11 is actually obscured by a huge galaxy cluster that is positioned between itself and our vantage point on Earth. Scientists found it with the help of gravitational lens effect. This technique has become a mainstay for astronomers and involves using a large object (like a galaxy cluster) to bend and magnify the light of a galaxy located behind it.

gravitation-lens-effect
Gravitational lens effect

They hope that A1689B11 will be able to teach them more about the formations of some of the earliest spiral galaxies. Some observations were made. “Unlike other galaxies of the same epoch, A1689B11 has a very cool and thin disc, rotating calmly with surprisingly little turbulence. This type of spiral galaxy has never been seen before at this early epoch of the Universe!” Dr. Tiantian Yuan, a Swinburne astronomer and the lead author on the research study, explained. In the future, the team hopes to conduct further studies of this galaxy to further resolve its structure and nature. The team also hopes to rely on data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope  (which will be launched in 2019).

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