Giant Mystery Blob Discovered Near Dawn of Time
- Did scientist find God's shadow? I'm not turning religious or suggesting they found proof of god. I'm jesting.
A newly found primordial blob may represent the most massive object ever discovered in the early universe, researchers announced today.
The gas cloud, spotted from 12.9 billion light-years away, could signal the earliest stages of galaxy formation back when the universe was just 800 million years old.
"I have never heard about any [similar] objects that could be resolved at this distance," said Masami Ouchi, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, Calif. "It's kind of record-breaking."
A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). An object 12.9 billion light-years away is seen as it existed 12.9 billion years ago, and the light is just now arriving.
The cloud predates similar blobs, known as Lyman-Alpha blobs, which existed when the universe was 2 billion to 3 billion years old. Researchers named their new find Himiko, after an ancient Japanese queen with an equally murky past.
Himiko holds more than 10 times as much mass as the next largest object found in the early universe, or roughly the equivalent mass of 40 billion suns. At 55,000 light years across, it spans about half the diameter of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Lyman-Alpha blobs remain a mystery because existing telescopes have a hard time peering so far back to nearly the dawn of the universe.
Is this what the telescopes have seen?