It wasn’t until 800 million years after The Big Bang that the universe’s first light sources emerged. Those ancient, brilliant, energy-dense objects are unfathomably old, and catching sight of one of them is very rare indeed. But thanks to a stunning stellar coincidence, scientists presenting at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week say they have glimpsed one — and it’s the brightest we’ve ever seen.
A 12.8 billion-year-old quasar — a galaxy with a supermassive black hole in its center that expels high-energy particles — recently appeared to astronomers as a galaxy 6 billion light years away serendipitously aligned with it. This coincidence allowed the quasar’s light to pass through the gravitational distortions of a closer galaxy and into the telescopes of astronomers on Earth.Read More... Astronomers Saw Some of the Oldest, Brightest Light From the Early Universe