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Hank reports on the discovery by NASA scientists of the most distant, oldest galaxy ever observed.

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References and image licenses for this episode:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/distance-record.html
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/706976main_p1236a-8x10-macsj0647-m.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gravitational_lens-full.jpg
(intro plays) Hank: Hello, I'm Hank Green, and welcome to SciShow Breaking News, where today's breaking news is actually pretty old. In fact, it's the oldest news in the universe, which is what makes it so amazing. A few days ago, while the rest of the world was freaking out over Twinkie shortages and whether or not the Wii U will be worthwhile, NASA scientists announced with little fanfare that they had discovered the most distant galaxy ever. And since it's farther away than any object that we've ever detected, the very act of observing it has given us our farthest ever look back in time. Using the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, astronomers discovered Galaxy MACS0647-JD, 13.3 billion light years away, basically as it was just beginning to form a mere 420 million years after the Big Bang. To give you a sense of how long ago we're talking here, how truly early in the scheme of things, the galaxy we see is taking shape only 20 million years after gasses in the primordial universe began to condense into the first objects that emitted visible light, yeah, we're talking about when light was the big new thing in the universe. Because the galaxy we're seeing is so young, it's also extremely tiny, only about 600 light years across, compared with the Milky Way, which is about 15 thousand light years wide. Over the last 13 and a half billion years, the tiny blob has probably undergone thousands of collisions and mergers with other proto-galaxies to form an entirely different structure that we'll never get to see. But we're lucky even to have gotten this minuscule glimpse. We owe this discovery not just to the amazing technology of the Hubble and Spitzer, but also to being in the right place at the right time. Astronomers were only able to detect this far flung galaxy because a huge dense galaxy cluster is sitting right in front of it. Clusters like this are so massive that they literally bend light as it travels around them, and from our perspective, this serves to magnify objects behind it. This is what's called a gravitational lens, and it was something that Einstein predicted and then said, no, no, that could never possibly, we'll never have telescopes that will actually be able to detect these things, but we do now, and it's freaking awesome, and it's the only way that we could detect such a small body so far away. Scientists are now using this technique to extend our view of the celestial past farther back than it's ever gone before, just a few months ago, the same team that found this galaxy discovered another that was almost as old, a mere 70 million years younger. With more time, patience, intelligence, and good fortune, Hubble astronomers hope to be able to observe objects as old as light itself. Those are pictures that I am looking forward to seeing and that of course I am looking forward to sharing with you here at SciShow, and if you want to keep getting smarter with us, you can go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe. (endscreen)