An international team of astronomers has found a substantial cluster of mature red galaxies in the early universe. The cluster is located 10.5 billion light-years from the earth, and is the most distant ever to be observed. This concentration of galaxies offers a glimpse of one of the most densely populated areas in the early universe. The results will shortly be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
‘Surprisingly enough the cluster has previously been undetected, even though it was right under our noses in one of the most thoroughly studied areas in the universe,’ says Leiden astrophysicist Ivo Labbé, who is leading the team. Thousands of hours using the best facilities, including the Hubble Space Telescope, showed nothing out of the ordinary until the new infra-red camera FourStar on the 6.5-metre Magellan Telescope in Chile determined the distance necessary for the discovery to be made.