NasaThe James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has opened the doors to a new chapter in astronomy with the discovery of a galaxy that formed just 350 million years after the Big Bang, making it the farthest starlight ever seen by the human eye.
This galaxy, which has been identified with another that arose 450 million years after the Big Bang, is exceptionally bright and suggests it came together just 100 million years after the event that sparked the universe there. 13.8 billion years ago.
Both star systems appear in the image as faint orange flecks in the blackness of space and are only visible now due to The powerful capacity of JWST go back in time with its infrared camera.
The team, led by the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome, Italysaid the discovery is like an “undiscovered country” of the first galaxies that have been hidden until now.
The tiny orange speck is the farthest starlight ever seen by the human eye. It was formed 350 million years after the big bang 13.8 billion years ago
Paola Santini, one of the authors of an article published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, said in a statement: ‘These observations just make your head explode.
“It’s a whole new chapter in astronomy. It’s like an archaeological dig, and suddenly you find a lost city or something you didn’t know about. It’s just amazing.
While the galaxies are more mature than our Milky Way, observations show that they are much smaller.
However, the pair are much brighter, and this could be because they are very massive, with lots of low-mass stars like later galaxies did when they formed.
Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz and involved in the study, also suggested they might be much less massive, made up of far fewer extraordinarily bright stars, known as population stars. III.
This galaxy is exceptionally bright and suggests it came together just 100 million years after the event that sparked the universe
This idea, however, was only a theory.
If true, the stars in the system would be the first stars ever born, blazing at searing temperatures and composed only of primordial hydrogen and helium – before the stars could later bake heavier elements in their ovens at nuclear fusion.
And no human has ever seen such burning primordial stars in the local universe.
“We’ve nailed something incredibly compelling,” Illingworth said.
“These galaxies should have started coming together perhaps only 100 million years after the Big Bang. No one expected the Dark Ages to end so soon.
Current Webb distance estimates for these two galaxies are based on measuring their infrared colors.
Eventually, follow-up spectroscopy measurements showing how light has been stretched across the expanding universe will provide independent verification of these cosmic measurements.
Pascal Oesch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland and author of the paper said in a statement: “While the distances of these early sources have yet to be confirmed by spectroscopy, their extreme luminosities are a real puzzle, challenging question our understanding of galaxy formation. ‘
JWST has also identified another galaxy in the region. This was formed 450 million years after the big bang.
The team, led by the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome, Italy, said the discovery looked like an “undiscovered country” of early galaxies that had been hidden until now.
Like all the previous ones, the discovery is made possible thanks to JWST’s infrared camera (NIRCam).
The NIRCam is a one-of-a-kind camera that allows the JWST to detect cosmic features that previous telescopes have missed.
This is because it is designed to pick up near-infrared and mid-infrared wavelengths, that is, light beyond the red end of the spectrum.
This technology is “the key to observing the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang and achieving all of the telescope’s science goals,” said Alison Nordt, director of space science and instrumentation for Lockheed Martin, which designed and builds the technology, in an earlier release.
NIRCam revealed another never-before-seen cosmic wonder in an image released Wednesday – the fiery beginnings of a star, also known as a protostar.
NIRCam revealed another never-before-seen cosmic wonder in an image released Wednesday – the fiery beginnings of a star, also known as a protostar
Observation reveals an “hourglass” shape that appears to be on fire amid the blackness of space, which is only visible in infrared light.
Using his NIRCam, Webb could penetrate the dark cloud that shrouded telescopes protostars in the past and look back in time to see when the young star feeds on a cloud of material to increase in size. .
The most noticeable features are the clouds of blue and orange created when material moves away from the protostar and impacts surrounding material.
“The colors themselves are due to layers of dust between Webb and the clouds,” NASA explained in a statement.
“The blue areas are where the dust is the finest. The thicker the layer of dust, the less blue light can escape, creating orange pockets.