Just over a week ago, on March 3, the news broke that the Hubble Space Telescope has found the most distant galaxy seen to date, GN-z11. At a spectroscopically measured redshift of z=11.1, it breaks the previous record of z=10.7 (which is a redshift currently based on the photometric redshift method, rather than spectroscopy). The previous record for a galaxy which had been spectroscopically measured was z=8.68, so this new discovery breaks that record by some margin.
Here is an image of the galaxy. It is superimposed on an image of a survey called GOODS North to show the part of the sky where the galaxy was found.
Here is a screen capture of the summary of the Space Telescope Science Institute’s press release, you can find the actual press release here.
You can see in the text of this press release summary that the galaxy is referred to as “surprisingly bright”, and below I show the beginning of the preprint of the paper announcing the result (dated March 3). You can read the preprint for yourself by following this link. Again, the galaxy is referred to as “remarkably luminous” in the preprint. Today I just wanted to present this exciting story, but next week I will explain more about a “schoolboy error” (or undergraduate error 😉 ) I made in discussing the brightness of this galaxy with colleagues.
But, more on my
schoolboy undergraduate error next week; as I say today I just want to present the story. At a redshift of 11.09 +0.08 and -0.12 (pretty small errors), this galaxy is being seen when the Universe was only some 400 million years old, or to put it another way we are seeing it some 13.3 billion years ago! Truly remarkable.