NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have discovered the most distant galaxy in the universe. Named MACS0647-JD, it’s been traveling through the void for 13.3 billion years and compared to our own Milky Way it’s tiny, at 600 light years wide versus the 150,000 light years-wide galaxy we live in. And, just to put those 13.3 billion years in perspective, the furthest man-made object from earth is the Voyager 1 probe, which has been whizzing through space for 35 years but is a mere 17 light hours away as it gets ready to leave our solar system.
The sighting would not have been possible had NASA not used the magnification powers of a massive galaxy cluster, whose gravity increased the light from the galaxy so much that it was able to be spotted. Rest assured, however, that MACS0647-JD won’t be the most distant galaxy to be discovered. For farther ones, we’ll have to wait for more powerful telescopes. And, of course, the next round of Star Wars movies.
[Image from NASA]