Giant Space Blob Is Biggest Known Baby Galaxy? Rebecca Carroll for National Geographic News April 22, 2009 A giant space blob discovered in the far reaches of the universe has scientists puzzling over what exactly the bizarre object might be, according to a new study. At 12.9 billion light-years away, the blob—dubbed Himiko after a legendary Japanese queen—is the fourth most distant object ever discovered, said lead study author Masami Ouchi, a Carnegie Institution fellow. Because of the time it takes light from so far away to reach Earth, astronomers are seeing the blob as it was when the universe was just 800 million years old, about 6 percent of its current age. But "the most significant feature of this object is the size," said Ouchi, who describes the find in the May 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Himiko is about 55 thousand light-years across, or roughly the size of a mature present-day galaxy, making the young blob the earliest known object of its size. In addition, the blob has an unusual structure: A large mass of stars sits its center, while the whole thing is shrouded by a mysterious cloud of electrically charged hydrogen. According to Ouchi, Himiko could be some sort of primordial galaxy, but one that does not resemble other galaxies found during the so-called cosmic dawn. As Ralph leans forward to read the article again, his dog Ernie, arises uneasily and leaves the room.