World Bulletin / News Desk
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found seven galaxies that formed relatively shortly after the universe's birth some 13.7 billion years ago, scientists said on Wednesday, describing them "as baby pictures of the universe."
One of the objects may be the oldest galaxy yet found, dating back to a time when the universe was just 380 million years old, a fraction of its current age.
"These early galaxies represent the building blocks of present-day galaxies," John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science, told reporters in a conference call.
The discovery of galaxies dating back to the universe's early years should help scientists figure out what happened after the "dark ages," a period of time about 200 million years after the Big Bang explosion when cooling clouds of hydrogen, clumped together by gravity, began to ignite, triggering the first generation of stars.
"It was a very important moment in cosmic history," said astronomer Richard Ellis, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Scientists do not know exactly when this "cosmic dawn" occurred and whether it was a single, dramatic event that caused all the galaxies to form their first stars, or whether it happened more gradually over millions of years.
The discovery of seven galaxies spanning a period between 350 million and 600 million years after the Big Bang supports theories that the cosmic dawn was a drawn-out affair, with galaxies slowly building up their stars and chemical elements over time, said Brant Robertson of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Astronomers plan follow-up studies after Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, launches in 2018.
The research appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Administrator touts success in planetary study, deep-space experiments, aviation innovation
A man left brain-dead after an experimental drug trial in France has died, local media report.
Facebook founder to donate majority of fortune over lifetime to newly formed charity
Facebook will appeal a date privacy ruling in Belgium that forces the social media giant to stop collecting digital information about people who are non-members
Japanese, Chinese, Irish scientists win 2015 Nobel prize in medicine for malaria and parasite research
Discovery could have major implications for pursuit of life on the red planet
Lawsuit sheds light on no poaching policy at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies
Searches for oncoming storms will display information such as maps, forecasts, reminders and preparedness instructions
New service unveiled as survey finds Americans having hard time navigating smartphone etiquette
Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea bid total of over €1.14 billion for the right to use frequencies on the new network
Petition 'will present at least two substantial questions concerning design-patent liability and damages'
The Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company plans to launch one solar-powered bus on Thursday and several more in the coming days
Roughly 70 million tonnes of fibres are traded globally per year, but nearly two thirds are made from non-renewable products like petroleum and natural gas.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.