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Distant, Older Galaxies Found by Measuring Heat Emissions

July 16, 1998

Astronomers have uncovered a hidden population of distant stars and galaxies that were formed much earlier than scientists had previously thought. Researchers at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland, used a new type of camera that measures heat emissions to delve deeper into the distant universe and produce images more accurate than even the most powerful optical telescope.

"What we found is that optical astronomers seem to be missing about 80% of the star formations in the early part of the universe--the first billion years," said astronomer James Dunlop. Astronomers had thought that star formations peaked when the universe was about three-quarters of its present age. The latest research, reported today in the journal Nature, indicates that stars were born billions of years before that.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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