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Early Galaxies

Image shows early galaxies.


An image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope of Abell 1689, a massive cluster of galaxies whose gravitational pull is so strong that it bends light, acting like a lens. This “gravitational lens” magnifies galaxies behind the cluster, making them appear far brighter than they would if the foreground cluster of galaxies were not there. The galaxies discovered in this study (circled) are magnified by factors of 3-100 and are fainter than any galaxies seen at this distance before. These previously unseen distant galaxies are so numerous that they are likely producing the majority of stars formed in the early universe. Zoomed in images of many of the galaxies are shown on the right. The galaxies are very compact (diameters 1/30th – 1/100th the size of our own Milky Way galaxy) and very blue, meaning they have recently formed many new stars. Photo credit: NASA and ESA; Space Telescope Science Institute.