The name A2744_YD4 conceals two superlatives: A2744_YD4 is the farthest and most recent galaxy ever seen (pictured is an illustration of the galaxy). Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory discovered them with the radio telescope Alma in Chile. The galaxy is more than 13.5 billion light-years from Earth. Due to the great distance, the light took an extremely long time to reach the earth. The researchers, therefore, looked to the galaxy at a time when the universe was just 600 million years old. In this phase, the first stars and galaxies have formed in the universe. The scientists were also surprised that there are large amounts of interstellar dust in the young galaxy. "The discovery of such large amounts of dust is an indication that supernovae have taken place at a very early stage, " explains Nicolas Laporte of University College London. And that dust was made of stars that had passed before.
Photo: ESO / M. Kornmesserhaus© science.de - Ruth Roebuck / Karin Schlott