A team of Japanese astronomers claim to have found the oldest galaxy using the Subaru and Keck telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
The telescope in Hawaii is a 4,200 meter-high summit, which hosts the world's largest observatory for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy, according to Silicon Republic.
The team calculated that the galaxy is 12.91 billion light years away, according to the Associated Press. Their research will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
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NASA defines a light year as the distance light can travel in one year. "Light moves at a velocity of about 300,000 kilometers (km) each second. So in one year, it can travel about 6 trillion miles." To put this number in perspective, the Earth is approximately 92 million miles away from the sun. Because the distance is so great, looking at a galaxy is essentially looking back in time.
There are other groups claiming to have found the oldest galaxy. In 2011, a California team used the Hubble Space Telescope said they saw a galaxy from 13.2 billion light-years away.
The Press Association also noted a French team used the Hubble Space Telescope to discover what they believe is a galaxy nearly 13.1 billion light-years away.
The Japanese team does have backing for their claim from influential sources. Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology, an expert in cosmology and galaxy formation, told the Associated Press that the Japanese claim is "watertight."
NASA uses these findings to estimate the age of our universe, which they believe to be between 12 to 14 billion years old.