The galaxy is so far away that its light -- captured through the lenses of ALMA and the Very Large Telescope -- is ancient, rendering the galaxy as it was just 700 million years after the big bang. What's surprised scientists is not the galaxy's age or size, however, but its contents. The galaxy is surprisingly dusty.
Most scientific models suggest the universe, in the aftermath of the big bang, consisted of only hydrogen and helium gas -- no dust. But A1689-zD1 features lots of dust, a lot more than current theories can explain.