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NASA Discovers Most Distant Galaxy In Known Universe

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the home-of-many-rebel-bases dept.

NASA 105

An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from cbc.ca: "'NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes (not to be outdone by the Kepler Space Telescope) have discovered the most distant galaxy identified so far in the universe... the galaxy is 13.3 billion light years away and only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way. Due to the time it takes light to travel through space, the images seen from Earth now show what the galaxy looked like when the universe was just 420 million years old, according to a press statement released from NASA. The newly discovered galaxy (is) named MACS0647-JD."

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105 comments

THEY MISSED THE JILLION OTHERS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42017963)

That God created those, oh, 5000 years ago !!

Re:THEY MISSED THE JILLION OTHERS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018003)

You must be a (former) Romney/republican party supporter. Have you slain any baby killers today? Oh, wait, that's a dig. Oh, I am feeling mighty republican right now.

Re:THEY MISSED THE JILLION OTHERS !! {5} (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018099)

Read this and weep,

I don't get it (5, Interesting)

symes (835608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42017983)

Apologies for the ignorance - So I understand that the further an object is the longer it takes for light to reach us. So what we observe is effectively light that has been traveling for a long time and we are looking back in time. But surely the Universe is expanding and is we go back in time then at some point we were in fairly close proximity to this galaxy. Light back then would have taken only a few moments to reach us. Moving forward from this point, for us to be able to see the past now surely we must have moved away from this galaxy at a relative speed that is considerable. What I don't get is how fast we need to be hurtling away from this galaxy for us to see the relative past now. As surely any speed below the speed of light would only slow time, rather than reverse it as implied here. Can anyone explain?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018033)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation_%28cosmology%29

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018039)

Consider two objects moving vertically from one another (along the x axis, and along the y axis), or in the same direction at different speed, or in opposite directions. At some point, light from the first will need a year to reach the other; what the other will then see is what the first looked like a year before.

Re:I don't get it (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018073)

I think the point of OP is different: the light from this galaxy took 13.3 bln years to reach us; so this implies the light has been travelling for that distance (13.3 bln light-years) before it reached us. Otherwise it should have reached us earlier.

However 420 mln light years after the Big Bang, was the universe already that big? If the universe was smaller (say 1 bln light-years across) the light of that star system should have reached us long time ago.

And, on the same note, there must be a lot of our universe that we can not see, simply because it is now so far away from use that the light from those places can not have reached us yet.

Or are OP and me missing something? If so, what?

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018103)

This is explained thoroughly on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42020029)

there is a schaum's guide to quantum mechanics available on amazon.com
if I knew this would cause so much confusion I would have skipped on submitting it,quantum joke: your standing in the street at night measuring the distance of a car from when the headlights look like a single light to two separate lights, then you realize it's a motorcycle!

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42020207)

One important thing to grasp is that the edge of the observable universe is 13.75 billion years old and 46.6 billion light-years away. This is what the wikipedia link says and it makes sense because the universe was expanding during those billion years.

On the other hand the summary claims that the galaxy is 13.3 billion years old and 13.3 billion light-years away. What is this, high school physics?

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018323)

I think the point of OP is different: the light from this galaxy took 13.3 bln years to reach us; so this implies the light has been travelling for that distance (13.3 bln light-years) before it reached us. Otherwise it should have reached us earlier. (...)

Or are OP and me missing something? If so, what?

I suspect you're misunderstanding space inflation. The big bang wasn't so much an explosion in space than it was an explosion of space. Picture a balloon with dots on it. Roughly speaking, our 3d space would correspond to the balloon's surface. (The balloon's volume corresponds to nothing physical.) There isn't such a thing as a center of the balloon's surface any more than there is a center of the universe, and the big bang corresponds to a huge initial blowing into the balloon. Crunchy details if needed [ucr.edu].

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018367)

That part I get; I also checked the wikipedia link provided by a helpful AC.

The issue I don't understand: this galaxy must have been some 13.3 bln light years away from us, as the light took that long to reach us. Anything closer we'd see "nearer in time". This means the galaxy must have been at least that big already at that time. Sounds pretty big to me, considering it has been expanding since and expansion is accelerating.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018415)

The issue I don't understand: this galaxy must have been some 13.3 bln light years away from us, as the light took that long to reach us. Anything closer we'd see "nearer in time". This means the galaxy must have been at least that big already at that time.

Or more simply, space time expanded throughout the entire process. Take two points A and B on the aforementioned balloon. Blow the balloon fast enough (space time expands), and they will see each other as they were shortly after the big bang; or never, for that matter, if you blow it even faster.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019771)

The issue I don't understand: this galaxy must have been some 13.3 bln light years away from us, as the light took that long to reach us. Anything closer we'd see "nearer in time". This means the galaxy must have been at least that big already at that time.

Or more simply, space time expanded throughout the entire process. Take two points A and B on the aforementioned balloon. Blow the balloon fast enough (space time expands), and they will see each other as they were shortly after the big bang; or never, for that matter, if you blow it even faster.

Which leads to another question- are there objects theorised to exist beyond such a point (i.e., which we will never see)? Assuming the big bang occurred at space point (0, 0, 0), and we are moving with (wild guess) 1/5 * c in one direction, is it theorised that there are objects moving at >4/5 * c on the "other side"? And does something special occur at the tipping point, i.e. when the "relative speed" is exactly c?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42021213)

The issue I don't understand: this galaxy must have been some 13.3 bln light years away from us, as the light took that long to reach us. Anything closer we'd see "nearer in time". This means the galaxy must have been at least that big already at that time.

Or more simply, space time expanded throughout the entire process. Take two points A and B on the aforementioned balloon. Blow the balloon fast enough (space time expands), and they will see each other as they were shortly after the big bang; or never, for that matter, if you blow it even faster.

Which leads to another question- are there objects theorised to exist beyond such a point (i.e., which we will never see)?

To the best of my knowledge, we can observe objects in the sky whose distance from us increases faster than light travels due to space time expansion. At some point they'll dim and eventually go dark. And there's absolutely no reason to imagine that similar areas of the skies have already become invisible for us.

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=575 [cornell.edu]

Assuming the big bang occurred at space point (0, 0, 0)...

And therein lies the subsequent confusion: the big bang isn't so much an explosion in space than it is an explosion of space.

Re:I don't get it (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42023607)

Its always the part in these descriptions of inflation where I read that in fact some parts of space are moving apart from each other *faster* than the speed of light that different parts of my brain start angrily yelling at each other and a bit of smoke comes out my ear.

All that mass! How does it work!

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018431)

It's a perfectly good question, and a tricky one to fully explain. The first thing to look at is how you measure distances - because we're talking about light here we're firmly in the realm of relativity, so there's no such thing as "space" and "time", you have to bundle them together in spacetime. And talking of x-light-years or y-million-years doesn't actually make much sense, you have to measure both at once, so instead of distances or times things are measured in "spacetime intervals" which account for all four dimensions.

Now this is the tricky bit - for any "light-like" path (more technically called a "null geodesic") the spacetime interval is zero. So the light that we're receiving from the galaxy here and now has a spactime interval of zero. The light that this galaxy emits all travels the same spacetime interval of zero - some of those photons would have been aimed at (as you suggest) "our galaxy" when it was "closer" - although in fact "our galaxy" was just a wisp of hydrogen at the time. Other photons (the ones we see today) were essentially aimed at a point that was also 13Bn years IN THE FUTURE, and those are the ones we see hitting us today.

Long story short, you don't just aim light at a point in space, you also aim it at some point in the future, and the further away in space it's aimed then the further into the future it's aimed. In a million years we'll still be able to see this galaxy (assuming it doesn't slip over the cosmic horizon), and the photons we'll detect then are currently still in transit, aimed at when/wherever we will be then, just as the photons we detect today were still in transit last week, last year and 13Bn years ago.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018709)

Errrr - would you believe that you actually confused my limited understanding of spacetime?

I don't think that light is being aimed into the future. Rather, it's at least as accurate to say, "light was aimed at the place that we would be in the future - which is now."

Light that we are recieving today was not "aimed at us", but it was aimed at the point in space that we now occupy.

Or, we could also say that we travel a path that was illuminated by that galaxy a billion years ago, with the light arriving now.

Re:I don't get it (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018933)

on a much smaller scale, but I think the model still works: skeet. When you're shooting, you aim ahead of the skeet - not where it is, but where it will be. The shot travels at a constant speed, and meets the skeet at a predetermined point in space. If you know how fast your skeet is moving, the distance to your aiming point, you know exactly when to pull the trigger and guarantee that every shot will shatter the ceramic.

Re:I don't get it (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019031)

That pretty much works, but it should be noted that not only is the target moving, but the target's launch platform is moving, the shooter is moving, and the shot is moving. All of that movement in spacetime gets pretty complicated.

Maybe we can use jet fighter pilots and their cannon as examples? ;)

Re:I don't get it (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019199)

yeah, we're going faster again... if you're driving a car at 299792458ms^-1 and you flick the headlight switch, what happens?

Re:I don't get it (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42020085)

You see the light leaving you at 299792458ms^-1. A stationary person also sees the light leaving you at 299792458ms^-1. This is one of the central tenants of relativity. To make sense of this the only option is that distances and/or times change depending on your point of view. Speed = distance / time, but speed never changes for light, therefore....?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42020517)

That is a misunderstanding of the notion of spacetime, it's a single word not two, space and time are connected, the place you speak did not exist prior to the expansion, the photons were effectively aimed at the future.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42024393)

It's interesting :

If we see it now at 13.3 bln light years from us , one could assume it was this far away 13.3 bln years ago ( so it would be further away by now ).
However, the universe itself is expanding, so the light itself suddenly needs to travel longer distances , as time goes on, making the trip longer and longer.

timothy is a stoner (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018065)

posted at 5:20, which is 4:20 somewhere!
article has the number 420 in it.
all our comment numbers start with #420...

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

gshegosh (1587463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018121)

The speed limit of c only applies to matter inside of the spacetime. The spacetime itself can expand faster than light and in fact there might be galaxies that we'll never be able to reach or see because they move away from us faster than light. Moreover, the idea of inflation stage of universe growth seems to explain well some problems with standard "big bang" theory and is widely accepted. Inflation means that there was a shot period in universe history when it expanded very quickly, faster than light speed in fact.

Re:I don't get it (2)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019075)

pardon the ignorance but..if spacetime can expand faster than light then the matter ( galaxies, stars etc. ) which are contained into that part of spacetime, is also moving faster than light? wouldn't that contradict the fact that matter ( with mass ) can't reach the speed of light ?

Re:I don't get it (2)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019353)

It's easier to think of matter as not being contained but rather sitting on top of the fabric of spacetime. The distance between the two galaxies/stars will accelerate faster than light while the matter itself comfortable sits still relative to spacetime. At least that's how I visualise it, correct me if I'm wrong!

Re:I don't get it (2)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019451)

hm yes but won't galaxy A see galaxy B moving away from it faster than the speed of light ? ( the relative movement as observed from a second galaxy. bonus question: is the universe a sphere ? I don't understand why the universe can't have a center, wouldn't that be the "point" where big bang happened ?

Re:I don't get it (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42020555)

hm yes but won't galaxy A see galaxy B moving away from it faster than the speed of light ?

No- something that moves faster than the speed of light, cannot be seen.

All the actual math can be messy, and most of the misunderstanding, I believe, stems from the fact that the speed of light is an anomaly (from a math point of view) but consider this: energy needs to be conserved. A wave is more 'packed' with energy if it is of a higher frequency from a wave that has the same amplitude, and a lower frequency. This is because it has more 'ups and downs' for the same amount of time, so it transfers more energy to its destination (it makes its destination go 'up and down' more often than a lower frequency wave)

Now try and think of the light as a wave: it _always_ propagates at the speed of light, and _all_ observers measure that speed to be 'the speed of light', a constant, no matter how fast or slow they are moving themselves with respect to each other, or the source. This is how it is, and it is not my fault. So how is this possible? Doesn't dashing towards the light source make you meet the incoming light from that source sooner, and wouldn't this mean that you watch it come faster at you?

Well, no, it doesn't: you would meet a lightfront sooner, but it would have the same propagation speed. What _does_ happen is that you receive more _energy_ from that light source, during your (subjective) unit time: the way you see it different from other observers is that you see it more 'packed' with energy, because -for you- it has more ups and downs per (your) unit time, compared to how you saw it when you were standing still. This is called blueshifting [wikipedia.org]. In the case that the source is moving away from you, you would instead observe the source drop more and more in frequency (redshifting), asymptotically, until a point where it would no longer be perceivable.

bonus question: is the universe a sphere ?

Probably not. [wikipedia.org] You are going to need math for this one!

I don't understand why the universe can't have a center, wouldn't that be the "point" where big bang happened ?

That is because you are thinking in terms of a Euclidian, three-dimensional topology. Sorry to quote even more math, but there is no easy way to explain this now (and I still got work to do, even though it is a Sunday!). I do not know how versed you are in math, but the wikipedia pages are always a good starting point for science stuff.

Re:I don't get it (1)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42021863)

well i have done maths earlier in my life and even read "a brief history of time" still in high school ( with some difficulties in the late chapters ). But I've always had more questions and not all my questions seem to be answered ( i know they are a result of lack of knowledge ). Thanks for your thorough answer but what it did was to incentivize me to ask you even more questions!

I understand the concept of the universe as a thin egg shell ( the balloon example ), with all the matter ( galaxies ) being inside that thin shell, not above, not below... BUT ..I don't see why spacetime doesn't exist below ( in the interior of the balloon ) the shell. During earlier times the radius of the shell was smaller..and smaller ..down to the point when bing bang occured. But the fact that matter does not exist anymore in the interior of the balloon DOESN'T mean that spacetime doesn't exist there as well, because matter already passed from that part and the information of the gravity field is still there ( that below part may have even been part of the universe even before mattere passed through there). The information of the field gravity is still there, thus, it may be empty of matter but it still exists despite the fact that all ( most? ) of the matter is inside the thin balloon/egg shell. This makes me think that the calculation we use about the expansion rate of the universe may be wrong, as the expansion rate should be defined by the expansion of the radius of the balloon, not by the distance of two dots on the balloon. Defining it as the speed between two galaxies is not consistent because the difference will be bigger, the further away the galaxies are.

These thoughts brought this question to me right now: Let's say we have two galaxies which are some space apart in this thin universe shell. Does the light moves accross the curbed shell fabric or in a straight line ( that is "punching through" the balloon ) ?

One more question related to the shape of the universe: despite the fact that for a fraction of time it may have expanded faster than the speed of light, at any other phase, the universe is expanding at the speed of light, which is the speed that the "information" of the gravitational field of the universe spreads. Right? ( thus making the need to calculate the expansion rate irrelevant ). Am I wrong here ?

So, still the universe _has_ to be spherical ( more or less ) because the gravitational field spreads in all directions at the speed of light. Thus my visualization of the universe is that of a bubble of air inside a water tank, which bubble is constantly growing in size ( the water of the tank being nothingness, or null ). The matter of the universe may be contained in a radius smaller than the radius of the bubble, and the radius of the bubble is the same as age_of_bubble*C ( i don't take here inflation into account for simplification reasons ). So according to my (probably incorrect) visualization, this bubble does have a center and a radius

Final question: if we take the velocity vectors of only two galaxies, and we extend the lines, they should go back at the initial start point which is the "center" the bing bang point, right ?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019665)

With general relativity, if you zoom in enough on any particular spot, it will eventually look like flat space time where more mundane special relativity applies. At that point, you couldn't see velocities exceeding c. So while chunks of space could be moving relative to each other faster than c, you wouldn't have two objects passing by each other closely faster than c unless something was really messing with the space between them. For stuff related to expansion, this is easy since the speed of expansion depends in part on how far apart you and what you are looking at is, so close things would be expanding slower. For something like the theorized warp drive ideas, things in side the bubble still could not move faster than c relative to you.

Re:I don't get it (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about a year ago | (#42025179)

That's something I don't fully understand and probably I won't without appropriate amount of math :-) But what popular science writers say about it is that Einstein's limit applies to movement relative to space. If you imagine your self glued to a point on a baloon and another galaxy glued to another point, when the baloon expands neither you nor the galaxy move relative to the baloon. But you move away from each other. You cannot move faster than light relative to the baloon. But the baloon can expand so fast that there are points on its surface that move faster than light relative to each other (but not relative to the baloon). If you're going to ask in what does the baloon expand, I don't know :-) Into nothingness ;-)

Re:I don't get it (2)

kwikrick (755625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018139)

how fast we need to be hurtling away from this galaxy for us to see the relative past now

Earth is only 4.5 billion years old, so the question is a bit silly. But the universe 13.3 billion years ago (420 million years old) was already quite big, or it could not have been forming galaxies. (I don't have numbers, but the exponential inflationary period was definitely much earlier. After that growth glowed down for a couple of billion years, and now it's speeding up again because of dark matter ).

More about measuring distance on space-time here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_expansion_of_space [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018341)

Questions is bang on. Basically how the heck did we arrive at this point in space before the light did. Do we really believe that we travelled faster than light? Seems very much at the THEORY stage to me!

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

nthcolumnist (734273) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018409)

Again with this? There is no theory stage. 'Theory' is not a precursor to absolute knowledge. If you think gravity is just a theory I invite you to test it via the nearest window.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42021605)

Did you forget that gravitation is one of the most broken disjointed pieced of the standard model? The theory of gravity is definitely a theory. Just because more mass = more gravity doesn't mean more mass is the cause. There could easily be exceptions if the causological mechanism of action is something we can't see...that is affected maybe mostly by mass, but not necessarily entirely. I say this mainly because we dont have a "why." It's just a basic potential problem, but I assure you there are many.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019237)

You are so, so wrong in your extremely rudimentary knowledge. Really. Read your parent's link and this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe [wikipedia.org]. This is the best answer that can be given since you've expressed such a strong opinion with such an impressive lack of knowledge.

Re:I don't get it (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year ago | (#42028351)

After that growth glowed down for a couple of billion years, and now it's speeding up again because of dark matter ).

I think you meant dark energy?

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018357)

Just to actually answer your question, the original inflation of space (supposedly) took only a very, very short time, so even if the two points were "close together" at the instant of the big bang itself, they ended up very far apart (and moving farther apart) at the end of a second or so. The parts of the universe in question did not exceed the speed of light because speed is distance over time in spacetime and it is the latter that was inflating. Think of a very small balloon with a picture of the Universe printed on its surface being suddenly blown up -- when the balloon is small, everything is compact, but when it is inflated it is much further apart. Then make it a balloon with a three dimensional "surface" and no interior...

There is a lot more to learn about this, much of it in e.g. wikipedia pages as noted in the thread or in astronomy textbooks, and it is actually a lot of fun to learn. One very interesting thing, for example, is to follow the scientific argument from parallax, blackbody radiation, and our knowledge of how radiation intensity drops off with distance, through the discovery of the Hubble constant, out to how we estimate/compute the size and age of the Universe. Another interesting thing is to learn about "the Great Dark" that followed the big bang up until the formation of the earliest stars some 200 million years later, the chain of nucleosynthesis within those starts and the supernovae that ended them, and the gradual accumulation of "metals" (elements heavier than hydrogen and helium) in the ashes of those stars. The entire planet Earth and we ourselves are composed of stardust, the ash of ancient stars that gave rise to the elements that make up our bodies in their dying explosions.

It's well worth it to take a course in astronomy at some point if this sort of thing interests you, although a lot of it is covered in discovery channel stuff and shows you can probably find on netflix if that's too time or money consuming for you.

rgb (who occasionally teaches astronomy and hasn't lost his sense of wonder at how it all works out)

Re:I don't get it (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42020693)

Think of a very small balloon with a picture of the Universe printed on its surface being suddenly blown up -- when the balloon is small, everything is compact, but when it is inflated it is much further apart.

This analogy has been around for decades but, respectfully, it is a very bad one and tends to confuse people (and students, who are also people).

Picture this: doesn't space expansion also expand the distances between nuclei and electrons? How about the 'dimensions' of electrons themselves? Is that expanding as well?

Another fair quoestion from a student on the 'baloon' example would be that the objects along with the observers on that baloon are also expanding: and, again on that example, will they not still measure the _same_ distance between their galaxies, because their measuring instruments will have expanded as well? So, for them, wouldn't a 'before expansion' meter still be perceived as one meter?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42026199)

Dear occasional Teacher,

Could you point me to some information regarding the following:

Because of the previously needed stellar nucleosynthesis needed to create the earth and its ability to sustain life it was necessary to have a whole life of a fast burning star before our sun got its chance to shine. Does that support the idea that the earth might be the lucky one or very first in the universe to sustain life?
Did we arrive on a greenfield?

Re:I don't get it (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year ago | (#42030795)

Dear occasional Anonymous Coward,

Because of the previously needed stellar nucleosynthesis needed to create the earth and its ability to sustain life it was necessary to have a whole life of a fast burning star before our sun got its chance to shine.

That's how I see it as well, yes.

Does that support the idea that the earth might be the lucky one or very first in the universe to sustain life?

I hardly think so. Compared to the inferred age of the Universe, Earth is failry new and the idea that current evidence supports is that there are astronomical numbers of Earth-like planets around astronomical numbers of Sun-like stars, in this galaxy alone, one out of an astronomical number of galaxies. Of course to get those you need astronomical numbers of fast burning stars, but those are easily obtained as well. And check out the civilization around you: how can you answer if you are lucky or not, without having seen how others are doing?

Did we arrive on a greenfield?

See above-

Re:I don't get it (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018707)

Okay, so the universe is expanding, right? So that means that the light from a distant galaxy takes a certain amount of time to reach us - but as time passes it takes longer and longer for the light to reach us. The light that has already left is being stretched out, which is why we get red shift.

Have you ever seen the things they use to put a 10-second delay onto radio phone-in programs? It's basically a big digital delay line, with a read pointer and a write pointer that can be moved separately. About ten minutes before the phone-in starts they switch on the delay unit, which records sound into memory at (say) 44100Hz but plays back at 43600Hz - just a wee shade slower. The read pointer falls behind the the write pointer by a little under one second per minute, and although the pitch is also shifted down a little it's not enough that anyone would notice. This shift down in pitch means that the ends of the "journey" that the audio makes through the delay line gets longer and longer until you've got your desired delay and can beep out rude words.

Because space itself is expanding, the light from a distant galaxy keeps having further to travel even just by a tiny fraction, which shifts it down in frequency and allows this delay to build up.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019011)

A couple of things:

1. The system we live in is only around 5 Billion years old.
2. I do not believe that we (earth) have a definitive map of each spec of light in the sky. It was not like they were looking into space and this one light showed up all of a sudden. It could have been shinning all along.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019043)

"I don't get it"

We know!

Re:I don't get it (1)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019223)

According to ignorant religious people it only took 24 hours to get here despite the fact that "day" in Genesis is symbolic and massive evidence to suggest otherwise.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019251)

Welcome to the bullshit that is relativity. Leave you common sense at the door.

Re:I don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019961)

hi,
go to sleep.
it's just another scam.
it is a big fraud by these so called scientists and astrologers.
how can one see a galaxy so far away?
what about the matter between the telescope and the distant galaxy?
Is that matter transparent?
Not? yes you got it right matter is not transparent.
I can't see through my brick and mortar wall of just 9 inches thick.
How NASA fellows can see through 13.2 billion light years thick "wall of matter"?
Agreed, there is space in between. But what about matter of other galaxies in between?
IS that matter transparent? And even if that is transparent, how the light from so distant object can reach us?

SO have a nice sleep.
It's a fraud just like George W. Bushes war on terror. which started with planned collapse of twin towers.
J Ahmad

Re:I don't get it (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42021519)

If you think that's baffling, try this: the photons that travelled this long time to get to us don't experience time at all. For them the instant they arrive is the same instant they left that distant galaxy.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42022717)

The answer is that new universe is constantly coming into existence all along the path of the light. The path is is getting longer and longer as it is traversed. That is what scientists mean when they say the universe is expanding.

Galaxies took 10s of million of years to form (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#42027051)

at the minimum. An expanding universe would be at least this large, not including Guth-inflation which could make it almost infinitely larger.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018011)

Mysterious signals, apparently partially random but partly systematic, that emanate from the object are proving a puzzle for scientists.

However some fragments have been successfully decoded containing "ukem for" "ux on" "eskto" and "et Ru".

13.3 billion in one direction? (2)

ehiris (214677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018015)

What about a galaxy that could be seen in the complete opposite direction? Would the distance between the two galaxies be 26.6 billion years and longer than the age of the universe?

I don't see how we could be even close to the outer edge of the universe. Is the age of the universe relative to us also?

Re:13.3 billion in one direction? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018077)

The radius of the observable universe is 45.7 billion light years ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe ). So yes, if you take 2 objects in opposite directions they are seemingly receding much faster than the speed of light in relation to each other. This does not violate relativity because it is actually the spacetime fabric that is expanding.

The 13.3 billion quoted here is actually the distance that light traveled to get here. The universe has been expanding all this time, therefore this galaxy's current proper distance is at around 43 billion light years.

Re:13.3 billion in one direction? (5, Informative)

meetpi (2776369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018173)

It's also worth pointing out that in the context of the universe, there is no edge. By default we tend to think of the universe as being like an explosion in space where the first particles ejected are at the edge of the explosion radius.

However, when we're discussing the universe, this explosion is actually creating space, so the expansion is not from the core to the edges, it's happening through all of space - everything is moving away from everything else. Think of it like the surface of a balloon that is being blown up. In 2d terms, all points on the surface of the balloon are moving away from each other, but none of them are at the 'edge' of the balloon.

Someone standing on the surface of a sufficiently large balloon would look around and see everything receding from them - it would be reasonable for them to feel they were at the centre of the surface of the balloon and that therefore somewhere there was an 'edge' - but they'd be wrong.

Re:13.3 billion in one direction? (4, Informative)

aneroid (856995) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018219)

Would the distance between the two galaxies be 26.6 billion years and longer than the age of the universe?

Good point: Yes and No.

Would it happen, yes, already has: If the universe is 93 billion light years in diameter, it is obviously possible to to find a galaxy 26.6 billion light years away but it should not be older than 13.7 billion years.

Because 13.3 billion light years away vs 13.3 billion years ago are not the same in the "Expanding universe" theory. The summary says "the galaxy is 13.3 billion light years away" - which makes it not as old as that statement implies --- imagine an early universe 1 billion light years across, with 2 galaxies forming near the edge diametrically opposite each other. They could now be 93 billion light years apart from each other but they would still be slightly younger than this one (MACS0647-JD). Similarly, it's possible that this galaxy could have been formed 12 billion years ago and has since moved relatively or "apparently" further away to 13.3 billion light years. 1.3 billion light years in 1.3 billion years in an expanding universe doesn't seem impossible since the universe is already larger (93 billion light years) than it is old (13.7 billion years).

The article didn't explain how they've correlated distance with age. Doppler shift?

The "No" part to your question, and the part which makes some of my answer wrong, is for observable:
There would also be the implication that what is "observed" can not be older than 13.7 billion years so you would need to wait another 13.3 billion years to observe the 13.3 billion year-old galaxy **at** 26.6 billion light years away.

Re:13.3 billion in one direction? (2)

aneroid (856995) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018249)

Correction, the "observable" factor makes most of what I said about the age of MACS0647-JD wrong. Was trying to make 2 different points at once.

Re:13.3 billion in one direction? (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018445)

The article didn't explain how they've correlated distance with age. Doppler shift?

Most likely, redshift is commonly used for the really big distances, and it's calibrated by measuring the comparative luminosity of a particular type of supernova which is always the same brightness.

Space expands - expansion not limited to c (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42024431)

Nothing can travel faster than light within space, but that is a limit on how fast things can move within space. It says nothing about how fast space itself can expand. So while an object can't itself move faster than light, the space between it and another object can expand so that it is much further away than it would be if the universe had not expanded.

In fact the expansion of space is proportional to the distance between the two points in space - every "bit" of space between the two points expands, so the further two things are in the first place the more bits of space and the bigger the expansion.

Frosty The Penis Man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018037)

miniture CERN in my anus, radio waves surround me as they appear to my naked, naked, naked eye...

pulling up my foreskin, digging in my anus to fetch lumps of poo I feel like a monkey - woo!

aint playin that game no more,
no whores ever come in my store,
i bit down on a pillow,
and it turned to stone turned to stone
the fat bastard sits ontop a ruby throne

can you smell it can you feel it
buckets of feces with magic hats put on the top of each one
shit comes to life and dances, one bucket at a time

STAY shitter THIRSTY was MY full FRIEND

Re:Frosty The Penis Man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018053)

that would be the most epic song ever if covered by alexisonfire... too bad they broke up cuz screamo is over.

trapping bugs in my anus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018059)

miniture CERN in my anus, radio waves surround me as they appear to my naked, naked, naked eye...

pulling up my foreskin, digging in my anus to fetch lumps of poo I feel like a monkey - woo!

aint playin that game no more,
no whores ever come in my store,
i bit down on a pillow,
and it turned to stone turned to stone
the fat bastard sits ontop a ruby throne

can you smell it can you feel it
buckets of feces with magic hats put on the top of each one
shit comes to life and dances, one bucket at a time

STAY shitter THIRSTY was MY full FRIEND

WHY DID the RUBBER CHICKEN cross the road?
to jump into my rectum and leave its legs sticking out of my anus!!!!!!!! of course!!!!!

you can lead a turd to water but you can't make him stink

FISH LIKE TO travel in BIG ANUSES TOO!

stuffing jawbreaker candy into my labia and my penis tip dont forget to tip the penis tip

tip tip tip tip

pouring cement into my dirty ass
delivering this post to you with class!
remember the show head of the class?
drilling a hole in watermellons so i can
let my pee pee in.

pics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018079)

tfa with pictures:

http://thespacereporter.com/2012/11/most-distant-galaxy-ever-spotted-with-natures-zoom-lenses/

Very young galaxy (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018081)

That galaxy is a mere 420 mln years old - must have been one of the very first galaxies to have formed. Impressive find!

Finding a galaxy at 13.5-14 bln years old, now that would be really interesting and means we have something wrong with our estimations of the age of our universe.

Re:Very young galaxy (2)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018247)

Truly impressive indeed. But that makes me think: How far that galaxy is far from the origin of the universe, the ground zero of the BigBang? How could that galaxy help us to precisely calculate the diameter of the Universe? Plus imagine how even further away this galaxy(assuming it even exists) is from us now.

Re:Very young galaxy (3, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018455)

It's exactly at the point of the Big Bang. As are you. As is Jupiter, Spica, and an empty bit of space a billion lightyears from our galaxy. The Big Bang happened everywhere, it's just that "everywhere" was all in one place at the time.

Re:Very young galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018519)

Maybe these are different times. Perhaps in abyssally ancient times, beings existed that could see their origin in the night sky.

I guess the big bang is beyond our gaze now though.

Re:Very young galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42021943)

I'm kinda amazed at the thought of how crazily massive and advanced that galaxy could be by now. Being one of the oldest galaxies created (that we know of thus far), it will have had much, much longer to evolve than our current galaxy.

Just think... you could have a situation like Earth over there, but billions of years worth of further evolution would have occurred.

NASA doesn't discover galaxies: astronomers do (5, Interesting)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018171)

I realise that the title of this article was carried over from the CBC article, but could we at least try to remember that it's astronomers that discover things like this high-redshift galaxy, not an administration like NASA in isolation? I don't mean to diminish the absolutely central role played by NASA in both Hubble and Spitzer, of course, but at the same time, a whole range of people, institutions, and organisations come together to make scientific discoveries like this possible, and I think it's important that we recognise that science is often a highly collaborative and international endeavour.

For example, there are 23 astronomers who co-authored the paper on this galaxy: 11 are from US institutions, 11 from European institutions, and 1 from a Chinese one. Note, I didn't say that they were (necessarily) American, European, and Chinese: in the list of co-authors, there are at least some Europeans working in the US and vice versa.

Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a collaboration between NASA and ESA, the European Space Agency, albeit with NASA in this instance contributing the majority. There are other space missions including Herschel and Planck which are led by ESA, but in which NASA plays a minority role. Many space missions are collaborative in this way, in essence underpinning the mix of US-based, Europe-based, and other international astronomers who've written this paper.

In more detail, it can get even more complicated when you realise that NASA, ESA, and other space agencies themselves employ astronomers and other space scientists, so in that sense, discoveries can be made by those organisations too.

Speaking of which, it might have been more appropriate to give the links to the original US and European press releases from the Space Telescope Science Institute [hubblesite.org], NASA [nasa.gov], and ESA [spacetelescope.org] to get the full story.

Anyway, despite the (important, I believe) pedantry, this is is an interesting discovery :-)

Re:NASA doesn't discover galaxies: astronomers do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018205)

The discoveries were definitely made by humans.

Re:NASA doesn't discover galaxies: astronomers do (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018595)

Except that aliens that live clo9ser to that galaxy (whether in this galaxy or some other) may have seen it before us humans, but they probably won't be bothered telling us about it.

Re:NASA doesn't discover galaxies: astronomers do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018799)

Some aliens may live there, you insensitive clod!

Ummm, (2)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018193)

Yes I know that light takes millions/billions of years to get to use, but if the 'big bag' happened only a 100 million years ago before you see 'this' blob how in the world would it be so far away? Some times when people discover stuff they fail to notice how it all began, if anything the galaxy might have been one of the first and it might be going through a rebirth cycle but it sure as hell isn't still forming from the start of the universe.

Now I do understand that when you bend light it might take longer to show, maybe even in this case you might be looking in to a greater past than what we think we are currently looking at. However if let us say all matter in the current universe started in a single point and somehow exploded how long do you think it took for such object to get to its destination?

Ummm, (4, Funny)

u64 (1450711) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018283)

I love to hear more about this 'big bag' theory.

Re:Ummm, (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018307)

well, you take all the mass in the univese put it in a huge salad bag then start mix until you get everything everywhere then let it explode. boom, you have life.

Re:Ummm, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42020045)

Where's the bag analogy guy when you need him?

Re:Ummm, (2)

stevelinton (4044) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018303)

Assuming the astronomers are right, the way it happened is this:

About 420 million years after the Big Bang, this clump of gas formed into a small galaxy and emited a lot of light. At that time, about 1 billion light years away, and moving away at close to the speed of light was another clump of gas.

13 billion years later according to clocks on that other clump of gas, the light "overhauls" the other clump of gas, and is seen by Hubble.

There are other points of view that assign different numbers to some bits of this, but they all agree on the actual facts.

Re:Ummm, (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42018853)

but if the 'big bag' happened only a 100 million years ago

Where do you get the age of the universe at 100 million years? Here, try this:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=age+of+universe

Re:Ummm, (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42019923)

This is what I get for waking up in the morning still drunk and trying to post something on the internet, Yes I'm aware it's 10+ billion years old, but my main point is the fact human logic is based off human math and human time. When you go in to space time works differently so does a lot of other elements like light. We don't know how far out it takes for light to start to decay or if it ever decays at all. All we know is that we've run tests here and run off those numbers, which may not be anywhere in the ballpark of the real numbers we might find out once we go out and see it first hand.

What's in a name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42018217)

The newly discovered galaxy (is) named MACS0647-JD.

These galaxy discoveries by hipsr astronomers are becoming too trendy. Typical... well, what did you expect?
  WINDOWSS0647-JD? LINUXS0647-JD?

Long-suffering photons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019311)

Man those particles must be tired! I expect they're rather brittle by now as well.

Re:Long-suffering photons (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42022207)

They spread out. There must have been a lot of them if there are enough to kick a few electrons out of a sensor approximately 125827309434295338201372614 m away. Maybe I should get out my two slit box and see if I can figure out if it goes through both slits at the same time.

I will try to make it clearer, if I can. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019407)

The light that we see in this case is from the galaxy 13.3 billion years ago. Since that time it will have changed significantly and moved further away as well. If we wish to see what it looks like today we will have to wait at least another 13.3 bilion years for the light generated today to reach us. I say at least because our galaxy and that one are moving away from each other rapidly, and have been for that 13.3 billion year time that it took the light to get here. It may be 15 billion light years away now but that doesn't make the universe older than 15 billion years since we are moving away from each other. Maybe that helps.

13.2 billion ,light years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42019865)

hi,
how is it possible to see 13 billion light years?

what about the matter in between the telescope and the distant galaxy?

Is that matter transparent?
If not, then this discovery is just another fraud!!

J. AHMAD
NEW DELHI, INDIA

Re:13.2 billion ,light years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42021547)

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."

Re:13.2 billion ,light years? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42022161)

and that's before figuring out what the "people" on the smart planet of the smart solar system in that galaxy can see in all directions. Or are they only seeing stuff on one side and wondering "WTF is it all over that way?".

Re:13.2 billion ,light years? (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42022367)

Most of the space between us and this distant galaxy is empty. That which isn't, in this particular case, are contained in a few rather massive regions, enough so that the gravity generated therein acts like a few giant lenses, bending the light from the distant galaxy around it and focusing it in our direction.

Wow, that's young. (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42020249)

Due to the time it takes light to travel through space, the images seen from Earth now show what the galaxy looked like when the universe was just 420 million years old, according to a press statement released from NASA.

The universe must have still been wearing diapers at the time.

ya (1)

xdcx (2711191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42021581)

NASA can suck a /.ers dick. Oh, I believe in NASA. They are soo great. you fucking morons don't realize how much they are holding from the public. you /. just get pounded in the ass for some NASA

Ift it was ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42022147)

... 13.3 billion light years away when it emitted the light we see today, then how far away is it now based on expansion of the universe? If someone says it was closer back then, then why isn't what we see today representing a younger galaxy?

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