NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a cluster of galaxies in the initial stages of construction — the most distant such grouping ever observed in the early universe.
In a random sky survey made in near-infrared light, Hubble spied five tiny galaxies clustered together 13.1 billion light-years away. They are among the brightest galaxies at that epoch and very young, existing just 600 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang.
"Just a couple of years ago, a discovery like this one would have seemed impossible," said Tommaso Treu, team member and a professor of physics at UCSB. "Now, we are not only finding galaxies as close as ever before to the Bang Bang, but we are actually finding entire structures of them!"