A team of astronomers were able to actually take a look into the past with the help of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope – which spotted dwarf galaxies that came into existence about one billion years after the Big Bang.
Hubble Space Telescope found more than 250 dwarf galaxies that are almost as old as the Universe itself, having existed less than one billion years after the Big Bang took place.
“The light from these galaxies took over 12 billion years to reach the telescope, allowing the astronomers to look back in time when the universe was still very young,” researchers at Hubble said.
According to the astronomers, the light coming from these dwarf galaxies may have had an important role in the Epoch of Reionization, one of the most mysterious periods in the existence of the universe. Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was filled with scattered particles of electrons, protons, and neutrons.
As the universe started cooling, ionized atoms of hydrogen (and helium) formed as protons and neutrons combined. The ionized atoms of hydrogen and helium turned the electrons into neutral atoms, allowing the light to travel freely through the universe which was no longer opaque.
Johan Richard, an assistant astronomer at Centre for Astrophysics Research de Lyon (CRAL), Observatoire, France, said that these are the faintest galaxies that have even been seen in the Hubble observations.
Scientists agree on the fact that these newly discovered dwarf galaxies had a role in preserving the ‘transparency’ of the universe, and gave clues as to when the Epoch of Reionization occurred: about 700 million years after the Big Bang, the scientists said.
For 25 years now, the Hubble Space Telescope has been providing significant information about the universe. Mario Livio, an internationally known astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, stated that Hubble is possibly the most flourishing experiments in the scientific field.
Hakim Atek of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, led the team that discovered the dwarf galaxies. Using the high quality images captured by Hubble, the scientists will be able to further study some of the first generation galaxies of the universe.
Image Source: dailygalaxy