13/12/2012 03:53 GMT | Updated 11/02/2013 05:12 GMT

Cosmic Dawn: Hubble Telescope Photographs Oldest Galaxy Ever Found In The Universe (PICTURES)

Astronomers have photographed what could be the most ancient galaxy ever spotted in the universe.

The picture is said to capture the "cosmic dawn" when the first true galaxies formed after the initial creation of the universe.

Images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope have captured galaxies which are thought to have existed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

The galaxy - given the catchy moniker UDFj-39546284 - formed within 380 million years of the universe itself, researchers said.


Above: the new detail of the Ultra Deep Field

Six other distant galaxies captured by Hubble existed within 600 million years of the universe's creation, it is thought. Light from the galaxies has taken more than 13 billion years to reach the Earth.

They were photographed using an infrared camera to study the Hubble Ultra Deep Field between August and September 2012. Astronomers judged their age from the redshift - how much their light has been warped by the expansion of space.

"The cosmic dawn was probably not a single, dramatic event," study lead author Richard Ellis, of Caltech, told

They added that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018, will give an even more detailed look at the universe's ancient origins.