News Release Archive:

News Release 3 of 7

September 4, 1996 03:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-29

Hubble Sees Early Building Blocks of Today's Galaxies

September 4, 1996: New Hubble telescope images unveil what may be galaxies under construction in the early universe.

Hubble's detailed pictures reveal a grouping of 18 gigantic star clusters that appear to be the same distance from Earth, and close enough to each other that they will eventually merge into a few galaxy- sized objects. They are so far away, 11 billion light-years, that they existed during the epoch when it is commonly believed galaxies started to form. These results add weight to a leading theory that galaxies grew by starting out as clumps of stars, which, through a complex series of encounters, consolidated into larger assemblages that we see as fully formed galaxies.

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Credit: Rogier Windhorst and Sam Pascarelle (Arizona State University) and NASA