NASA glimpses the universe’s first bright objects

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[This post was written for the Carl Sagan memorial blog-a-thon, which takes place today to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sagan’s death.]

The image on the right, from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, shows immense bright objects more than 13 billion light years away, in the Ursa Major constellation. On the left is the same image with the stars and galaxies masked out, showing background radiation from a time when the universe was less than one billion years old. The objects in the image on the left are therefore among the very first ones formed in the universe; astronomers believe they are either the first stars or supermassive black holes.

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