The Hubble Space Telescope is a gift that keeps on giving. The number of cosmic discoveries scientists have made with the help of the Hubble keeps growing, and each addition more awesome than the last. Recently, astronomers at the Keck observatory in Hawaii confirmed the Hubble’s discovery of the oldest and most distant galaxy known to man. So far, anyway.
The z8_GND_5296 galaxy—which I’ll refer to as the Gandalf galaxy, since it clearly needs a catchier name—has a mass of about one billion suns, less than two percent of that of the Milky Way, but it seems to be popping out stars like it’s received the best fertility treatments ever. Gandalf produces about 330 solar masses each year, which is approximately 100 times more than the Milky Way. Scientists believe this production may be related to the Gandalf’s high gas content, or that it might be hoovering the excess gas that exists in the interstitial spaces between galaxies.