• By The Financial District

Astronomers See 'Invisible' Galaxies Formed At Dawn Of Universe

Astronomers have spotted two “invisible” galaxies hiding near the dawn of the universe.


Photo Insert: The Hubble Space Telescope



The team used radio waves to peer behind a curtain of dust that was obscuring them from view, and the find suggests that there were far more galaxies in the early universe than previously thought, Michael Irving reported for New Atlas.


The Hubble Space Telescope is one of our most powerful cosmic eyes, able to see objects more than 13 billion light-years away. And because space and time are so intertwined, the objects it sees at that distance are seen as they were 13 billion years ago, allowing astronomers to effectively look back in time to the universe’s early childhood.



The new study conducted by the University of Copenhagen was published in the journal Nature.


But Hubble can’t see everything. It watches the skies mostly in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths of light, with some near-infrared capability. Other telescopes, scanning the cosmos in other wavelengths, can reveal new details – and that’s exactly what happened here, as astronomers investigated a well-studied region of space using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), which captures radio waves.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

"We were looking at a sample of very distant galaxies, which we already knew existed from the Hubble Space Telescope,” says Pascal Oesch, an author of the study.


“And then we noticed that two of them had a neighbor that we didn’t expect to be there at all. As both of these neighboring galaxies are surrounded by dust, some of their light is blocked, making them invisible to Hubble.”


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

The two newly discovered galaxies have been named REBELS-12-2 and REBELS-29-2, and although the light from them has traveled 13 billion years to reach us, the galaxies are actually much farther away than that now.


Thanks to the expansion of the universe, the galaxies are now a staggering 29 billion light-years away, making them among the most distant known galaxies.



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