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These Are The Most Distant Objects We’ve Ever Discovered In The Universe

Although there are magnified, ultra-distant, very red and even infrared galaxies in the eXtreme Deep Field, there are galaxies that are even more distant out there than what we’ve discovered in our deepest-to-date views. NASA, ESA, R. BOUWENS AND G. ILLINGWORTH (UC, SANTA CRUZ)

For planets of any type, the quasar RX J1131-1231, lensed by rogue planets, holds the record: 3.9 billion light-years distant.

A massive cluster (left) magnified a distant star more than 2,000 times, making it visible from Earth (lower right) even though it is 9 billion light years away, far too distant to be seen individually with current telescopes. It was not visible in 2011 (upper right). The brightening leads us to believe that this was a blue supergiant star, formally named MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1. NASA, ESA, AND P. KELLY (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA)

The most distant normal star is known as Icarus, 9 billion light-years away, lensed and magnified by a massive galaxy cluster.

The ultra-distant supernova SN UDS10Wil, shown here, is the farthest type Ia supernova ever discovered, whose light arrives today from a position 17 billion light-years away. Even more distant supernovae of other types have been discovered, such as SN 1000+0216, which is the current record-holder at 23 billion light-years distant. NASA, ESA, A. RIESS (STSCI AND JHU), AND D. JONES AND S. RODNEY (JHU)

23 billion light-years away is the most distant supernova ever seen: SN 1000+0216.

This artist’s concept shows the most distant quasar and the most distant supermassive black hole powering it. At a redshift of 7.54, ULAS J1342+0928 corresponds to a distance of some 29 billion light-years; it is the most distant quasar/supermassive black hole ever discovered. Its light arrives at our eyes today, in the radio part of the spectrum, because it was emitted just 690 million years after the Big Bang. ROBIN DIENEL/CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE

The most distant known quasar (and supermassive black hole) is ULAS J1342+0928, 29 billion light-years away.

This illustration of the most distant gamma-ray burst ever detected, GRB 090423, is thought to be typical of most fast gamma-ray bursts. When one or two objects violently form a black hole, such as from a neutron star merger, a brief burst of gamma rays followed by an infrared afterglow (when we’re lucky) allows us to learn more about these events. The gamma rays from this event lasted just 10 seconds, but Nial Tanvir and his team found an infrared afterglow using the UKIRT telescope just 20 minutes after the burst. ESO/A. ROQUETTE

The farthest gamma-ray burst, 30 billion light-years distant, is GRB 090423.

The most distant galaxy ever discovered in the known Universe, GN-z11, has its light come to us from 13.4 billion years ago: when the Universe was only 3% its current age: 407 million years old. But there are even more distant galaxies out there, and we at last have direct evidence for it. NASA, ESA, AND G. BACON (STSCI)

Finally, the most distant galaxy of all is GN-z11, a phenomenal 32 billion light-years away.

The observable (yellow) and reachable (magenta) portions of the Universe, which are what they are thanks to the expansion of space and the energy components of the Universe. 97% of the galaxies within our observable Universe are contained outside of the magenta circle; they are unreachable by us today, even in principle, although we can always view them owing to the properties of light and spacetime. E. SIEGEL, BASED ON WORK BY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS USERS AZCOLVIN 429 AND FRÉDÉRIC MICHEL

Our observable Universe, after beginning with a Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, has been expanding ever since.

The James Webb Space Telescope vs. Hubble in size (main) and vs. an array of other telescopes (inset) in terms of wavelength and sensitivity. It should be able to see the truly first galaxies, even the ones that no other observatory can see. Its power is truly unprecedented. NASA / JWST SCIENCE TEAM

As our observational techniques and technology improve, these records will likely all be shattered by future astronomers.