Astronomers have found the faintest example yet of a galaxy from the early Universe.

Kuang-Han Huang of the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues spotted the 13-billion-year-old galaxy using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope. A cluster of galaxies in between acted like a lens, gravitationally bending light from the faint galaxy to make it visible to the telescopes.

The detected galaxy is from the end of the 'cosmic dark ages' — when ultraviolet radiation from the earliest stars ionized the Universe's hydrogen to generate the levels seen today. The authors say that studying more galaxies like this one could reveal whether stars did this alone or had help from other sources, such as black holes.

Astrophys. J. Lett. 823, L14 (2016)