August 9, 2022

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The James Webb Space Telescope discovers the oldest and most distant known galaxy

The James Webb Space Telescope discovers the oldest and most distant known galaxy

  • James Webb Space Telescope It broke the record for the oldest galaxy ever observed by nearly 100 million years.
  • The light from the galaxy, known as GLASS-z13, is 13.5 billion years old, dating back to when the universe was young.
  • Web Tools It can help astronomers see galaxies both older and more distant from these galaxies.

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s new infrared heavyweight peered into the vast expanse and found a 13.5 billion-year-old galaxy, which researchers believe is the oldest galaxy ever discovered. Scientific operations of the powerful telescope began last week.

The group of stars, gas and dust interconnected by gravity dates back to 300 million years after the Big Bang. This beats the previous record for the most distant and oldest galaxy ever discovered by 100 million years, a record held by a galaxy known as GN-Z1. When GN-Z1 was spotted by Hubble Space Telescope In 2016, the galaxy’s light took 13.4 billion years to reach Hubble.

Researchers from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have shared their findings about the new record-breaking galaxy, called GLASS-z13, in binary. from publications Posted Wednesday. Scientists also identified another galaxy of about the same age, called GLASS-z11, which also beat previous records.

“We’ve found two compelling candidates for very distant galaxies,” said Rohan Naidoo, one of the researchers who discovered GLASS-z13 in Webb’s data. new world. “If these galaxies are at a distance we think they exist, then the age of the universe is only a few hundred million years at that time.”

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The researchers said new world The two galaxies are also relatively small compared to our own Milky Way, which is 100,000 light-years across. GLASS-z13 is about 1,600 light-years across, while GLASS-z-11 is 2,300 light-years across.

The red dot is the oldest galaxy ever observed.

The red dot, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, is the oldest galaxy ever observed.

Naidoo et al., P. Oesch, T. Treu, GLASS-JWST, NASA/CSA/ESA/STScI


“With the advent of JWST, we now have an unprecedented view of the universe thanks to the highly sensitive NIRCam instrument,” according to the researchers. Explained in preprint.

It is still too early for discoveries from the powerful observatory, which It was launched on Christmas Day in 2021 Scientific operations began last week.

NASA says Webb is able to look even further and discover galaxies dating back to the first hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang, helping astronomers understand more about the evolution of galaxies over the life of the entire universe.