Astronomers have dappled the first known spiral galaxy, dating to just three billion years after the Big Bang. They first speckled BX442 as the one and only spiral-looking object in a study of 300 galaxies carried out by the Hubble space telescope, when they were shocked to see what looked to be a spiral galaxy. Those observations confirmed a hint apparent in the Hubble data: that BX442 was being orbited by a smaller dwarf galaxy at its edges.
To get a closer look at BX442, the team went on to use the OH-Suppressing Infrared Integral Field Spectrograph at the Keck observatory in Hawaii which can take away the effect of all the water that lies between the Earth and galaxies at such astronomical distances. The observations confirmed a hint apparent in the Hubble data: that BX442 was being orbited by a lesser dwarf galaxy at its edges.