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Farthest known galaxy.

Farthest known galaxy

An international group of astronomers hasdiscovered a galaxy they believe is the most distant yet seen, located more than 90 percent of the way to the visible limits of the universe. Emissions from the object, designated 4C41.17, traveled farther to reach Earth than those of any other galaxy ever studied, suggesting they may have left their source as little as a billion years after the Big Bang.

Discovery of a galaxy apparently formed so early in the universe's evolution raises the question of whether such objects are extremely rare or whether present models of galaxy formation must be revised.

Astronomers spotted 4C41.17 in measurements made by the Very Large Array radiotelescope complex in Socorro, N.M. These showed it to be a powerful source and one with a strikingly steep radio spectrum, suggesting it was very distant. They then observed the galaxy optically from Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. Those observations indicated a redshift -- the key to its distance -- of 3.8. Uncertainties preclude setting too exact a distance from a given redshift, but the researchers who reported the finding Aug. 8 at the meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Baltimore estimate the galaxy could be as much as 15 billion light-years away.

The discovery was announced by graduate student Ken Chambers of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and astronomer George Miley of Leiden University in the Netherlands. They worked with astronomer Wil van Breugel of the University of California, Berkeley.
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Title Annotation:4C41.17
Author:Eberhart, Jonathan
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 13, 1988
Words:248
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