back to article Outrageously old galaxy spied birthing new stars at furious rate

Astronomers at the Max Planck institute have successfully glimpsed one of the oldest galaxies known to man, finally discovering how far away the primordial cluster is and explaining why it produces so many stars. The Hubble Deep Field, with the position of the submillimeter galaxy HDF850.1 marked with contour lines. The lines …


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  1. adnim

    To an observer

    in that galaxy the Milkyway is 12.5 billion light years away and thus only 10% the age of the Universe. Now if the Milkyway is only 10% the age of the Universe why do we need to look at that galaxy to get an idea of what the Universe was like during it's early stages?

    See the joke icon...Please don't try to explain relativity and the speed of light to me I know, I also know that all light hasn't aged one nano second since decoupling, where as I age 10 years every time the government announces one legislation ;-)

    1. Yesnomaybe

      Re: To an observer

      If space is curved, how much further (away/back in time) do we have to look to see our own galaxy in it's infancy?

      1. adnim

        Re: To an observer

        Depends on the mass of the whole Universe not just the observable bit. Einsteins' field equations would then provide the answer.

  2. Uncle Siggy

    furious rate

    Why you mad though?

  3. Christoph


    Oh my God it's full of stars

  4. gautam

    Dont you guys....

    ......want to talk about Birds & Bees ? Even the Galaxies and stars have to reproduce and grow !

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Outrageously old galaxy?

    NO! Outrageously YOUNG galaxy.

    Yes, you! Behind the El Reg server rack! Stand still, laddy!

    1. Zombie Womble
      Thumb Up

      Re: Outrageously old galaxy?

      Have an upvote for the Pink Floyd reference.

    2. adnim

      Re: Outrageously old galaxy?

      It's 12.5 billion light years away, we see it as it was 12.5 billion years ago. What we see is a very young galaxy. If it still exists, and hasn't been eaten by some enormous chocaholic, it is actually a very old galaxy.

      Not taking the expansion of the Universe into account we will have to wait 12.5 billion years to know whether it exists now or not. However by then, presuming the human species hasn't evolved into a super-luminal energy field, we would probably be wondering if it exists then which in 12.5 billion years would be now. That would require waiting another 12.5 billion years...

      There ya go that should clear things up ;-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm so over pendantry.

    Yet I cannot stand by. ARRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHH!

    It's bearing!

    One bears a child.

    One doesn't birth one.

    She bore three children. She will bear this child tomorrow.

    Unless one burglarises.

    Can we please??

    1. frank ly

      Re: I'm so over pendantry.

      I'm not. 'Birth' as a veb is often used for the physical act of giving birth, e.g. as in 'birthing pool'. The verb 'bear' has the implied sense of carrying along a burden (joyfully we hope) during pregnancy and also supporting a child after the moment of it's birth.

      As such, for inanimate objects such as stars, to say that a galaxy is 'birthing stars' seems fine to me.

      1. Great Bu

        Re: I'm so over pendantry.

        I believe the correct term is 'ensprogulating' (for the entire act of creating young) or 'desprogulation' (for the actual moment of birth).

        1. Peter Ford

          Re: I'm so over pendantry.

          Probably shoud be exsprogulation. Desprogulation sounds more like what you do if you don't want the sprog...

  7. Vendicar Decarian1

    The galaxy is very young, not very old as it is seen when the universe was only 10% it's current age.

    Only Register author Andrew Orlowski could be more technically incompetent.

  8. KrisMac

    Tense is everything...

    This galaxy is 12.4 billion years away, ergo what we see now happened 12.4 billion years ago... so far so good... now why does elReg inist that the galaxy is 'producing' stars at an incredible rate? Surely it once 'produced' a lot of stars.. once upon a time in a universal location far far away, (from both our and its present location).. and may at this specific instant in time no longer even exist...

    Saying this thing is 'producing' anything at all is actually total supposition because we know absolutely nothing about its true current state.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Tense is everything... (but common usage prevails)

      It's a standard way of talking about visual records. When you show a picture of a family gathering that was taken 10 years ago, do you say, "At the time this picture was taken, my brother was eating lots of cake", or do you say, "There's my brother, eating lots of cake."?

    2. kyza

      Re: Tense is everything...

      Willan on starbirth?

      Pint cos if someone gets that references they deserve one...

      1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Re: Tense is everything...

        Douglas? Is that you from the Great Beyond? And do they have PGGBs there?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'The Max Planck institute'

    Oh I see!



    Maths, etc

    I always thought it was a place where they studied really big trees.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: 'The Max Planck institute'

      They haven't got the time to study trees.

      They're studying the scientific stuff........................constantly.

  10. ScienceAu

    RE: HDF850.1

    In my paper “Theoretical principle model of forces” (visit, I predicted that a galaxy only remains stable if it can achieve a continuing balance between matter and star densities and therefore must be finite (just as life spans of stars are finite).

    The activity of HDF850.1 may the first example of a galaxy going through a ‘dying’ process. This will be analogous to the final nucleosynthetic phases of a dying star.

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