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Two ancient galaxies, merging

This is a composite image of a galaxy known as B14-65666, put together by astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in Chile, and the NASA-ESA Hubble Space, published in the Journal of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

The image is remarkable for two reasons.

The first is that the light that comprises it took 13 billion years to travel to the lens of the telescope – making B14-65666 one of the earliest galaxies ever photographed.

The second is that as lead researcher Takuya Hashimoto from Japan’s Waseda University and his colleagues were sorting through the data they discovered that they were looking at not one galaxy but two.

“With rich data from ALMA and HST, combined with advanced data analysis, we could put the pieces together to show that B14-65666 is a pair of merging galaxies in the earliest era of the universe,” explains Hashimoto.