Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

March 24, 1998
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A Baby Galaxy
Credit: Arjun Dey (Johns Hopkins U.) et al., Keck 10-m Telescope

Explanation: What's the farthest galaxy known? The answer keeps changing as astronomers compete to find new galaxies which top the list. The new record holder is now the faint red smudge indicated in the above image by the arrow. Detected light left this galaxy billions of years ago, well before the Earth formed, when the universe was younger than 1/10th of its present age. Astronomers have measured a redshift of 5.34 for this galaxy, breaking the "5 barrier" for the first time. Young galaxies are of much interest to astronomers because many unanswered questions exist on when and how galaxies formed in the early universe. Although this galaxy's distance exceeds that of even the farthest known quasar, it is still in front of the pervasive glowing gas that is now seen as the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Tomorrow's picture: Planetary Nebula NGC 7027

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.