Narrator: This is Science Today. A team of scientists at the University of California, Irvine have discovered a cluster of galaxies in a very early state of formation. This galaxy cluster is also 11.4 billion light years from Earth - the farthest of its kind ever to be detected.
Cooke: So much can be learned because not only are you witnessing it firsthand, but you're seeing it at such an early time.
Narrator: Jeff Cooke, a post-doctoral fellow in physics and astronomy at UC Irvine, led the study.
Cooke: What's cool about this is that we're actually seeing with our own eyes, several galaxies merging - caught in the act of merging - to form this bigger cluster or this massive galaxy that's going to be the center of a cluster. And so to see that and know that this was eleven and half, eleven point four billion years ago that that happened is very exciting. From that though of course, there's so much you can do. I mean, you learn how galaxies form in general, you learn how clusters of galaxies form.
Narrator: Before this discovery, the farthest known event like this was about 9 billion light years away. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.