STATES CHRONICLE – It seems that every day scientists discover new things about our Universe; however they are nowhere near solving even the tiniest fraction of the mysteries surrounding us and our home planet. A new discovery made with the use of the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes can help them solve some of those mysteries, as researchers discover ancient faint galaxy, name it Tayna.
Meaning ‘first born’ in the South American language of Aymara, Tayna is one of of the earliest galaxies ever formed after the Big Bang, dating back only 400 million years after the Universe’s inception. Being quite small, it’s about the size of one of the galaxies orbiting around our own Milky Way, the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Tayna, even though ancient, is one of the smallest galaxies encountered by the telescopes. Even though the telescopes have previously encountered other ancient, far-away galaxies, this is the smallest and faintest encountered to date. This led researchers to believe that the small size and faint glow are a common factor between the ancient galaxies.
Don’t be fooled by its size, however, as Tayna is able to produce stars ten times as fast as the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Mily Way’s satellite galaxy. As such, the scientists who discovered it claim that it has the potential to become the core of a much, much vaster galaxy.
Leopold Infante, from the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile, is the lead author of the paper published on December 3rd. In it, the researchers studied 22 recently discovered ancient galaxies, and they found out more about these galaxies leading back to the beginning of the Universe than they had ever before.
The discovery was only recently made due to a new program the two telescopes are part of, the Frontier Fields program. Hubble imaged, via the technique of gravitational lensing, as part of the program, the MACS0416.1-2403 cluster of galaxies located 4 billion light years away from Earth.
Weighing one billion times more than the Sun, the cluster acted as another, very powerful lens, magnifying the light of other distant objects behind it. This caused the Tayna galaxy to appear 20 times brighter than it normally does, allowing the researchers to observe it for the first time.
Combining the images taken by both telescopes, while using infrared techniques based on the Universe’s expansion, the scientists were not only able to determine Tayna’s distance, but to also create a colored profile of the galaxy.
Image source: Wikimedia