ANCIENT galaxies that date back billions of years have been discovered by experts from NASA.
“Our latest Spitzer result reveals how different these early galaxies are to those at later times”Gareth Illingworth
The famous space agency announced the distant worlds had been uncovered using the Spitzer space telescope.
Findings published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society said it could lead to clues that establish how life was kickstarted across the universe.
Gareth Illingworth, a co-author of the study, said it was an eye-opening discovery.
He added: “Our latest Spitzer result reveals how different these early galaxies are to those at later times and pinpoints our sample as a key set for providing insights into how galaxies so efficiently recognised the universe.”
Researchers also said images taken by the telescope resemble tiny, orange dots that appear to hover in the deep blackness of space.
They added it appeared to be similar to the first-ever image taken of a black hole.
Michael Werner, a project scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the item used to make the discovery was no larger than a thumbnail.
He continued: “We did not expect that Spitzer, with a mirror no larger than a Hula-Hoop, would be capable of seeing galaxies so close to the dawn of time.
“But nature is full of surprises, and the unexpected brightness of these early galaxies, together with Spitzer’s superb performance, puts them within range of our small but powerful observatory.”
It took the Spitzer telescope some 200 hours of gazing at the same region of sky before it made the discovery.
By being focused on the spot for an extended period of time, it allowed light to travel across the universe giving a clearer image of the mysterious galaxies.
It has since been able to pick up faint details from some 135 far-away galaxies.