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Researchers using Japan’s Subaru telescope in Hawaii have discovered a galaxy 12.9 billion light-years from Earth — the most distant found to date.

The researchers have captured images of several galaxies and hope to discover more about the condition of the early universe.

According to the astronomers, the farther a galaxy is from Earth, the closer it is to the state of the universe in its early stages, because it takes billions of years for the light to reach Earth.

The universe dates back more than 10 billion years, they said.

The research team, which includes specialists from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Tohoku University, has discovered seven distant galaxies in recent efforts.

The latest finding extends the distance of the known farthest galaxies from Earth by about 3 million light-years.

Along with two galaxies discovered in March, Japanese astronomers have succeeded in identifying nine of the top 10 farthest galaxies yet discovered, team members said.

In April and May, the team members fitted the telescope with a filter that allows light from distant galaxies to pass through. By using the filter, three of the newly discovered seven galaxies were found to be farther away than what had been previously thought of as the farthest galaxy, they said.

Subaru, an optical-infrared telescope with an 8.2-meter mirror, is one of the world’s biggest telescopes. It is located near the summit of the 4,205-meter Mount Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. It began full operations in 2000.

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