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A galaxy far, far away...

Galaxy UDFy-38135539
Galaxy UDFy-38135539 is the most distant object ever discovered

An ancient galaxy has entered the record books after being confirmed as the most distant object in the universe. Light from the galaxy UDFy-38135539 that reaches Earth today was emitted when the cosmos was only 600 million years old and mired in a primordial "fog" of hydrogen atoms. It has taken 13.1 billion years, travelling at 300,000 kilometres (186,000 miles) per second, for this smudge of infant light to arrive.

When the light photons detected by astronomers began their journey, the universe was only 4% of its present age.

Simulation of galaxies in the early Universe
Simulation of galaxies in the early Universe

British astronomers were among a team of European scientists who reported the discovery today in the journal Nature. They measured the distance to the galaxy by analysing its faint glow of light using the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

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