Scientists, through the Hubble Space Telescope, have found the most distant object that humans have ever seen.

A galaxy, 13.4 billion light-years away, has been spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope. It could lead scientists to question their understanding of the way that the universe evolved. A galaxy of such a size shouldn’t have been able to exist in an infant universe, scientists have said.

Hubble telescope discovers new galaxy

How do astronomers measure the distance?

Astronomers measured the distance by splitting up the light into the colors that its made up of. Since the universe is expanding, very distant objects stretch towards the red part of the color spectrum. The more that “redshift” has happened to an object’s image, the further away it is.

GN-z11 is the name of this new galaxy. It takes the crown from EGSY8p7, which set the redshift record at 8.68. The new galaxy has a redshift of 11.1.

So, the enormous distance is a fact that the light left the galaxy when the universe was in its infancy. The light came just 400 million years after the universe began, 13.8 billion years ago. This way, scientists are able to look back at the very formation of the Universe.

“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble. We managed to look back in time to measure the distance to a galaxy when the universe was only 3% of its current age”, said Dr Pascal Oesch, a member of the team from Yale University in the US

GN-z11 is thought to be 25 times smaller than the Milky Way. But it is growing fast, throwing out new stars 20 times faster than our own galaxy does.

Astronomers cannot expect that size in the current understanding of how the cosmos came to evolve.

Co-author Dr Ivo Labbe, from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, said: “The discovery of GN-z11 showed us that our knowledge about the early universe is still very restricted. How GN-z11 was created remains somewhat of a mystery for now. Probably we are seeing the first generations of stars forming around black holes.”