The Tayna Galaxy

Using the combined power of both NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have found the faintest galaxy ever seen. Dubbed Tayna, it is calculated to about 13.8 billion years old, existing just 400 millions years after the Big Bang.

Lead author Leopoldo Infante, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, clarified the significance in the press release, saying, "Thanks to this detection, the team has been able to study for the first time the properties of extremely faint objects formed not long after the Big Bang.”

Magnifying Glass in Space

The discovery is was only made possible thanks to a natural phenomenon called gravitational lensing caused by a natural “magnifying glass” found in space, in this case, a giant cluster of galaxies called MACS0416.1-2403. The cluster bends and magnifies the light of very distant objects behind it, making it a powerful natural lens in the process. Ultimately, thanks to this effect, the galaxy looks 20 times brighter than normal.

The phenomenon was first proposed by Albert Einstein and was part of his General Theory of Relativity.

The discovery of Tayna is one of among 22 other young galaxies which are found near the universe’s observable horizon, a prime location for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope that will be succeeding the Hubble Space Telescope.

the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble’s successor, will be more sensitive by a factor of about 100, than all the other telescopes that have come before it. It could help us see some of the first stars forming in the universe. It could allow us to image planets orbiting alien stars. It will open up a world (a universe) of possibilities. We will be able to see farther and deeper than ever before.


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