Distant galaxy and MESSENGER

Our universe is enormous. Scientists keep discovering new objects that are further and further away from us. Recently, they confirmed a new galaxy to be the most distant galaxy ever discovered. This galaxy goes by the name EGS-zs8-1. It is so far away that it took its light over 13 billion years to reach us here on Earth. That means the light we are seeing is from over 13 billion years ago. Our universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, so this light is from a time when our universe was just 670 million years old. That’s way before Earth existed, since the age of Earth is about 4.5 billion years.

Many scientists believe that our universe was created with a “Big Bang”. The whole universe was inside something smaller than the tip of your pencil. Also, it was really really hot and dense. That little point suddenly expanded and created all the matter in the universe (which, even today, continues to expand).

Recently, one of the American space agency NASA’s spacecrafts crashed into the planet Mercury. MESSENGER left earth in 2004 with a mission to study Mercury. It had been orbiting the planet since 2011. The spacecraft ran out of fuel and crashed into the planet. Data sent back by MESSENGER has taught us a lot about Mercury. It is the smallest planet in our solar system. A year in Mercury time is 88 Earth days.

Here is MESSENGER’s video as it flies over Mercury, and another video about Mercury.

 

 

Did you know?

It takes about 8 minutes and 20 seconds for sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth. Here is a video about it.

Image Credits:NASA, ESA, P. Oesch and I. Momcheva (Yale University), and the 3D-HST and HUDF09/XDF Teams for EGS-zs8-1′s image, NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington for MESSENGER’s image
Sources: http://www.nasa.gov, http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/