News of the WeekAstrophysics

Distant Galaxy Heralds End of Dark Ages

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Science  22 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5563, pp. 2194-2195
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5563.2194

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After the big bang and the scorching fireball that followed it faded, the infant universe fell into what cosmologists call its Dark Ages. Light returned half a billion years later, when galaxies formed and the first stars ignited. Now a team of astronomers claims to have seen a galaxy--the most distant object ever detected--that pushes back the date when the Dark Ages ended and may imply that they were not so uniformly dark after all.