When I think old I think the tub of cottage cheese in my fridge that was there when I moved in. I'm afraid to touch it. Not even the pickles and artichoke hearts will go anywhere near that thing. And you know what? I don't blame them. What I do do is gag every time I see it.
Homing in on an object found during the Hubble Space Telescope's long, deep stare into the distant past, astronomers have fished out a galaxy whose light has traveled more than 13 billion light-years to get here, making it the oldest astronomical object found so far.
The universe's most senior citizen is called UDFy-38135539, but scientists suspect its title as record-holder -- previously held by a gamma-ray burst -- will not last.
Measurements taken of UDFy-38135539 by Lehnert and colleagues confirm it formed within 600 million years of the universe's creation. Theoretical models and computer simulations suggest that the first galaxies could have formed as early as 200 million years after the Big Bang event.
First of all, gamma-ray bursts shouldn't even be allowed to hold records. It ain't right. That's like awarding a spectator a medal in the Olympics. You're not even a real person. Secondly, a galaxy that was crated 600-million years after the Big Bang? That's nothing. Because I used to know a galaxy that formed 500-million years after the Huge Splooge that would buy me and my friends beer in high school. Also, did you know that outerspace is mostly empty space? Because what if we're cruising and I have to pee between galaxies? Just wet my spacesuit? Too late!
Hit the jump for an artist's rendering of the Methuselah galaxy.
Thanks to Jordan N. and Mr. Sausage, who have been to UDFy-38135539 and claim it's a dry-galaxy. No booze, no GW, personal policy.