These galaxies date back to the earliest days of the universe. Image Credit: ESO/MUSE HUDF

The new galaxies date back 13 billion years to a time shortly after the formation of the universe.

The discovery was made using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

The galaxies were situated in a patch of sky previously investigated by the Hubble Space Telescope and were identified thanks to MUSE’s ability to make observations across a range of wavelengths.

“MUSE can do something that Hubble can’t – it splits up the light from every point in the image into its component colours to create a spectrum,” said astrophysicist Roland Bacon.

“This allows us to measure the distance, colors and other properties of all the galaxies we can see – including some that are invisible to Hubble itself.”

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Galaxy, ESO, Hubble