With only a fraction of the known universe discovered, it's no wonder something new pops up with each passing day. In one example, one group of scientists revealed earlier this month they had discovered a group of new galaxies in the furthest reaches of the universe. The newly discovered galaxies are so far away, in fact, they're thought to be some of the oldest in existence.
In a new study published in Nature on September 22nd, researchers from Waseda University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan uncovered ancient galaxies that were obstructed from view by a thick cloud of cosmic dust. The galaxies, in fact, weren't initially the subject of the study as lead researcher Yoshinobu Fudamoto and his team stumbled across them by accident while looking at neighboring galaxies.
Fudamoto and his team are part of a group called the Reionization-Era Bright Emission Line Survey (REBELS), scientists that have been studying dozens of the known universe's oldest galaxies. It was upon examination of the two of these clusters — REBELS-12 and REBELS-20 — researchers discovered emissions "several thousand" of light-years away. Upon further research, those emissions turned out to be previously undiscovered galaxies, which they promptly named REBELS-12-2 and REBELS-29-2.
"These surveys must observe substantially deeper than had been envisioned previously to sample the fainter dust-obscured, but otherwise 'normal' galaxies such as REBELS-12-2 and REBELS-29-2," the team concludes in its study.
Cover photo by Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images