Home Science Space Himiko blob found: Earliest known beginning of galaxy

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Astronomers have discovered a massive object about 12.9 billion light-years from our Solar System that is the earliest known precursor to a galaxy. It appears to have first formed during the early times of our Universe—less than one billion years after the Big Bang explosion.


This massive and mysterious gas blob is in a shape that represents the early beginning of a galaxy. It has been called Himiko, after an ancient and equally mysterious Japanese queen.

Even though discovered, it still remains mostly a mysterious object to astronomers as they scramble to learn more about it.

According to the April 23, 2009 Space.com article “Giant Mystery Blob Discovered Near Dawn of Time,” the announcement of this important discovery for cosmologists was made on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, by the U.S., British, and Japanese team led by Masami Ouchi, a U.S. researcher at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, in Pasadena, California.

Dr. Ouchi states, "I have never imagined that such a large object could exist at this early stage of the universe's history.” [AFP: “Colossal new space oddity Himiko baffles scientists”]

The result of the discovery of the Himiko blob was published in the article “Discovery Of A Giant Lyα Emitter Near The Reionization Epoch,” within the May 2009 issue of The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ 696 1164-1175 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1164).

The massive, gas blob is thought to have formed about 800 million years after the explosion of the Big Bang, which is theorized to have started our Universe about 13.7 billion years ago. Thus, it would have formed about 12.9 billion years ago.

The Ouchi team are fortunate just to have discovered the Himiko blog because of its extreme distance from Earth. They used 2007 data from a Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) while using the Subaru Telescope as part of the Subaru/XMM-Newton Deep Survey (SXNDS).

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University

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