The Hubble Telescope discovers 250 tiny galaxies

The Hubble Telescope Discovers 250 Tiny Galaxies
The Hubble Telescope Discovers 250 Tiny Galaxies

Using the telescope, an international team of astronomers found more than 250 galaxies that existed just 600 to 900 years after the Big Bang. Because these galaxies are so far away, it took 12 billion years for their light to reach the Hubble's lens.

This has allowed the astronomers to essentially look back more than 12 billion years to when the universe was still very young.

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​In a news release, NASA and the European Space Agency said the study highlights the impressive possibilities when Hubble looks at three more of these galaxy clusters in the near future.

According to NASA, the galaxies may have played an important role in one of the most mysterious periods of the history of the early universe -- the epoch of reionization.

Reionization was the process of removing the hydrogen gas that cloaked much of the early universe. By emitting light, these galaxies may have helped remove that gas, making the universe transparent. Scientists estimate this would have been about 700 million years after the Big Bang.

"If we took into account only the contributions from bright and massive galaxies, we found that these were insufficient to reionize the Universe," Hakim Atek, the lead author of the study, said. "We also needed to add in the contribution of a more abundant population of faint dwarf galaxies."

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Originally published