Meteor Showers A Maybe for Oregon; New, Most Distant Galaxy Found
(Oregon Coast) – If you're looking for some surreal sights in the nighttime skies around Oregon and maybe even the coast, then now may be a good time to look up. If you want something a little deeper in space, then indeed there are some major new discoveries there as well. (Above: photo of the new galaxy discovery from Hubble Telescope).
Look for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower right about now. But a bit further out in space – well, actually farther than anyone has ever seen – astronomers have discovered a galaxy almost as old as the universe itself and have broken a few records doing so.
Far above the beaches of Oregon, and at least a few thousand miles away in a more vertical direction, astronomers from the west coast and east coast have pushed back the galactic boundaries even further. The international group, led by scientists from Yale University and University of California, recently announced they have been able to peer backwards in time more than 13 billion years after discovering a luminous galaxy much farther from the Earth than ever recorded.
Using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the Keck I 10-meter telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the team discovered a galaxy called EGS-zs8-1. It also clocks in as one of largest and brightest objects in the early universe.
Looking at light and scenes that are some 13 billion years old, scientists also found they were seeing this newfound galaxy when it was only 100 million years old.
"It has already grown more than 15 percent of the mass of our own Milky Way today," said Pascal Oesch, lead author of the study from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. "But it had only 670 million years to do so. The universe was still very young then."
Another discovery: Oesch said the galaxy appeared to be forming stars much more rapidly than our own, at a rate some 80 times faster.
The groups said observations are looking at a time when the universe was undergoing major changes that included hydrogen between galaxies was moving from an opaque to a transparent state. EGS-zs8-1 was one of a few galaxies that were largely responsible for this, said study co-author, Rychard Bouwens of the Leiden Observatory, Leiden, Netherlands.
These interstellar and unfathomably prehistoric sights will not be visible from Oregon or the Oregon coast, of course. However, right now is the Eta Aquarid meteor shower – which comes from bits of Haley's Comet. Look to the east in the pre-dawn hours. Some will still be visible for a few more days in the northern hemisphere, perhaps as many as 10 per hour.
More stellar sights from the Oregon coast below. Click on the images for more about these areas:
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