Thursday, January 27, 2011
A team of astronomers says it has found the oldest galaxy yet discovered, a blob of light they estimate is from 13.2 billion years ago, which, if you know your stuff (and why would you be here if you didn't?) is a mere 500 or so million years after the Big Bang, which is nothing when you're talking Big Bang. The picture shows what the astronomers at UC Santa Cruz say is the galaxy that existed 480 million years after the Big Bang and the position in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) where it was found.
Other astronomers say that the team that discovered the galaxy had previously "discovered" three others that old, decided they weren't really galaxies, and then discovered this one.
According to Nature, where the study was published, the team leader, Garth Illingworth, noted that there is a 20 percent chance that the smudge they found is contamination, but insisted "we're pretty sure it's a real object."
Anyway, the astronomers are engaged in a classic nerd fight, presumably throwing protractors and slide rules at each other. You gotta love it.