WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The universe is filled with stuff — and a lot of it is very far away — but now scientists have a new record holder for the furthest galaxy from Earth.
NASA scientists found Galaxy MACS0647-JD by using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. The young-looking galaxy is approximately 13.3 billion light-years away.
A light-year is the distance of how light travels in one year in a vacuum. Light travels at 186,282 miles per second and a single light-year is about 6 trillion miles. So in layman terms, MACS0647-JD is around 79.8 trillion miles away from Earth.
To add a wrinkle to this unfathomable distance, the universe is 13.7 billion years old. The light of MACS0647-JD needed to travel for 13.3 billion years to travel the entire universe and finally reach NASA’s space telescopes.
Or in short, MACS0647-JD’s light needed to travel the entirety of space and time.
The released photograph of MACS0647-JD only takes up a few pixels compared to the vastness of the galaxy. It is described as a “very young” galaxy and may have changed dramatically in the 13.3 billion years since it was formed.
The previous record holder was galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2, and was slightly closer at 12.91 billion light-years from Earth.