The coolest thing is that Abell S1063 contains images of 16 background galaxies and one of those primordial galaxies existed only a billion years after the Big Bang. This ancient specimen comes from the first generation of galaxies to appear in the universe, so its light has taken nearly 13 billion years to travel from that galaxy, through the space-time magnification in the Abell S1063 cluster and into Hubble's lens.
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Though seeing galaxies from the dawn of the universe is a scientific goldmine in itself, measurements of their distorted shapes can help astronomers map the distribution of dark matter within the cluster, helping us further refine our theories on what this mysterious mass could be.
This most recent observation is a part of Hubble's Frontier Fields program that really pushes the envelope for the veteran telescope. By combining Hubble's unobstructed view of the visible universe and using this quirk of general relativity, we are learning so much more about the early universe, spying some galaxies that existed only a few hundred million years after the birth of the universe and providing compelling new clues as to the nature of some of the biggest mysteries beyond our current cosmological understanding.
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But when looking at these primordial galaxies, it's almost like we're studying prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in amber. But these galactic images are produced by ancient light that is only just catching up with us from our universe's eternal expansion.
It's light from the cosmic frontier, trapped in spacetime.
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