Astronomers are closing in on the first galaxies that formed in the universe. The new Hubble observations take astronomers into a realm that was once thought to be only reachable with NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.
This measurement provides strong evidence that some unusual and unexpectedly bright galaxies found earlier in Hubble images are really at extraordinary distances. Previously, the team had estimated GN-z11’s distance by determining its color through imaging with Hubble and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Now, for the first time for a galaxy at such an extreme distance, the team used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to precisely measure the distance to GN-z11 spectroscopically by splitting the light into its component colors.
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