Astronomers named a galaxy after Cristiano Ronaldo

Talk about Galacticos.

The European Space Observatory recently found a super bright galaxy and named it CR7.

Okay. Here’s what I gathered from the press release. A bunch of scientists, led by the University of Lisbon’s David Sobral, looked back toward where the Big Bang happened in “the widest survey of very distant galaxies ever attempted.” They used a Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Clearly, these guys should name everything.

They found a bunch of bright, young galaxies. (Young, in this case, is 800 million years old.) The brightest is three times brighter than any “distant galaxy” recorded thus far. (I don’t know what classifies a galaxy as distant, but I’m guessing it’s outside of walking range.) They named that one CR7.

CR7’s nickname is an abbreviation of COSMOS Redshift 7, a measure of its place in terms of cosmic time. The higher the redshift, the more distant the galaxy and the further back in the history of the Universe it is seen. A1689-zD1, one of the oldest galaxies ever observed, for example, has a redshift of 7.5.

CR7 is located in the COSMOS field, an intensely studied patch of sky in the constellation of Sextans (The Sextant).

The nickname was inspired by the great Portuguese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is known as CR7.

Cool. That’s definitely a step up from naming a star after someone for $15.

Anyway, the neat thing about this galaxy (CR7, not the one you’re in right now) is the reason it’s so bright. The astronomers think it contains pre-galactic stars, as in the first born from the Big Bang. Sobral is pretty pumped about that:

Those stars were the ones that formed the first heavy atoms that ultimately allowed us to be here. It doesn’t really get any more exciting than this.

I mean, almost anything is more exciting than that. Which is probably why they named the galaxy after a soccer player, so that you’d click on this.