Astronomers have used used gravitational lensing to obtain multiple snapshots of faint stars which lay behind a distant galaxy cluster, called MACS J2129.4-0741, more than 13 billion light years away. Taking three separate images of light which had been bent around the cluster, they were able to merge them together to form a single image of the faint distant stars hidden behind (pictured)

Astronomers have grabbed a glimpse of one of the most distant galaxies from our planet ever observed.

Light leaving stars in the galaxy has travelled a staggering 13 billion years before reaching Earth, providing scientists a glimpse of our universe while it was still in its youth.

Scientists hope that such glimpses could help to understand how the early universe transitioned from a neutral black void to an explosion of starlight.

Taking three separate images of light which had been bent around the cluster, they were able to merge them together to form a single image of the faint stars hidden behind.

‘This galaxy is exciting because the team infers a very low stellar mass, or only 1 percent of 1 percent of the Milky Way galaxy,’ explained Marc Kassis, an astronomer at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, where the observations were captured.

Beyond getting a snap of distant stars, hidden by galaxy clusters, it could help scientists to explain how the universe evolved.

After the big bang, physicists believe the universe entered a dark age lasting hundreds of millions of years, in which the once charged hydrogen gas became neutral.

But around 13 million years something switched, causing the particles to become charged again, called the ‘re-ionization epoch’, at which point stars began to appear.

Source: Are these the most distant stars ever seen? Faint stars more than 13 BILLION light-years from Earth could reveal how the universe emerged from its ‘dark age’ | Daily Mail Online

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