How old is the universe? And which galaxy is the oldest? A team of Japanese astronomers are claiming to have used the Subaru and Keck telescopes at Hawaii's Mauna Kea to observe a galaxy 12.91 billion light years from Earth. If they are correct, it could be the oldest galaxy ever discovered.
The status "oldest ever" is up to whether other recent discoveries are as accurate as they claimed to be. In 2010, French astronomers used the Hubble to observe a galaxy they determined to be 13.1 billion light years away, and last year a team of California astronomers used the Hubble to observe a galaxy said to be 13.2 billion light years away. So which one is the oldest? According to The Guardian:
Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology, an influential expert in cosmology and galaxy formation, said the latest work was more convincing than some other claims of early galaxies.
He said the Japanese claim was more "watertight", using methods that everyone can agree on. But he said it was not much of a change from a similar finding by the same team last year.
"It's the most distant bullet-proof one that everybody believes," Ellis said.