Discoveries in space are always a great development, telling us that we may not be alone in the universe and that the universe itself is filled with a lot that we’ve yet to find.
This month, astronomers added to their collection of impressive discoveries in space as they appeared to have found the farthest galaxy yet from Earth.
HD1 Breaks The Record
According to reports from earlier this month, astronomers have successfully found the farthest galaxy. Called HD1, the galaxy is estimated to be situated at a distance of approximately 13.5 billion light-years from the Earth. That distance takes HD1 about 100 million light-years farther than the previous holder of the title - GN-Z11.
HD1 has been described as a candidate galaxy. According to a pair of research papers published in the Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, the galaxy is estimated to be so far that it extends to a time when the universe was less than a billion years old. Still, it is incredibly bright.
Astronomers found HD1 in a 1200-hour-long observation session. Due to its distance, the star was only findable using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, the UK Infrared Telescope, the VISTA telescope in Chile, and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
Using observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, they could estimate the galaxy’s distance. They are expected to continue observations and calculations on the galaxy with the James Webb Space Telescope.
Interestingly, HD1 was found with a second galaxy - unsurprisingly, called HD2. Both galaxies could be among the first ones to release ionized hydrogen gas into the interstellar medium, creating the vacuum in space that we see today.
Old Star Discoveries
Researchers believe that HD1’s brightness profile indicates high energetic activity in the galaxy. To witch they've theorized that it is a starburst galaxy - a galaxy that is observed to be forming stars at an incredibly high rate. Estimates suggest that HD1 produces about 100 stars annually, which is about 10 times faster than regular starburst galaxies.
The researchers have postulated two explanations to explain the high level of star formation. The first is that HD1 might have an incredibly large black hole, which could be up to 100 times as large as the sun itself. If true, this would be by far the largest and oldest black hole ever discovered.
On the other hand, HD1 might contain some of the universe’s first stars. In a statement, Fabio Pacucci, the study’s co-author, explained that the first set of stars formed in the universe were larger and brighter than stars seen today. If HD1 does contain those stars, it goes without saying that energetic activities in the galaxy would be much more than those observed today.
Not much is known about HD1 for now. The galaxy’s distance could present a bit of a difficulty for observation, and even the most advanced observation processes could take years to be completed. However, we’ve got a new record holder and a lot of discoveries to make from this one.