29 Apr 2009

Image captured 13 billion light-years away

10:37 am on 29 April 2009

Astronomers in the United States have photographed the most distant object ever detected by telescopes.

The image captured the aftermath of a massive burst of energy from a dying star 13 billion light-years away.

The explosion was first detected by NASA's Swift space satellite observatory which is designed to detect such gamma-ray bursts.

Scientists say the star's destruction probably resulted in a black hole.

Analysis of the light spectrum confirmed the blast had a redshift of 8.2. Redshift is a measure of the degree to which light has been "stretched" by the expansion of the Universe.

The BBC reports the figure 8.2 equates to a distance of 13.035 billion light-years.

The Swift satellite was launched in 2004.