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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

British Scientists Report Faint Blue Galaxies at Least 10 Billion Years Old

September 19, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Images of the faintest galaxies ever seen show they are much older than astronomers thought and date back at least 10 billion years, British scientists report in the Sept. 19 Nature. The blue-tinted galaxies were seen during an unusually long look at an apparently blank area of sky by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

"These very faint galaxies are very blue," said Tom Shanks of the University of Durham. Blue-tinged light means the galaxies are young and still forming. Another change in light, known as red shift, told the astronomers that the galaxies were very, very far away. They said the changes in the light made over its journey in time and space showed that the galaxies were much older than previously believed.

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