A week after revealing the first images taken by James Webb, the space telescope, considered the most advanced of its kind, may have spotted a very distant galaxy that formed 13.5 billion years ago.
The galaxy, known as GLASS-z13, dates to 300 million years after the Big Bang, making it 100 million years older than any object observed so far, Rowan Naidoo of Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics told AFP.
Naidoo is lead author of the study, which analyzed data from observations by James Webb. The data has been published online to make it available to space scientists around the world.
One of James Webb’s main tasks was to observe the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
In astronomy, looking at the history of the universe requires going back into its past, for example, it takes eight minutes for sunlight to reach Earth, so we see it as it was eight minutes ago. No matter how far we look, we can recognize objects from billions of years ago.
Light was emitted from GLASS-z13 13.5 billion years ago.
The results of the galaxy-related study have not yet been verified, but have been released as a “preliminary version” for quick access to experts. Naidoo mentioned that he has bought a scientific journal that will be published soon.
Before the results of the study became public, a number of space scientists expressed excitement about the discovery via social media.
However, NASA Associate Administrator and Science Officer Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted, “Space discoveries are on the edge,” adding, “Yes, I appreciate only verified scientific results. But this discovery looks very promising!”
Rohan Naidoo points out that another research group reached the same results as reported in the study, which gives him more confidence in the results.
Blurred vision into space
The galaxy was observed by James Webb’s “Nercom” instrument and found what it called the “deep field,” a detailed image displayed over a long period of time aimed at tracking light.
One of James Webb’s characterizations is that it works in the infrared, and light emitted from distant objects is stretched and shifted on its way to “red” and wavelengths that our human eyes can’t see.
To image this galaxy, the data was “translated” into the visible light range, and the galaxy appeared as a red circle, blurring the view, with a white center.
But in fact, two dozen researchers who participated in the study studied two galaxies, the second one is closer than GLASS-z11 and GLASS-z13.
Both galaxies have amazing properties given the limited information known to date.
“Both galaxies appeared to be very massive, very soon after the Big Bang, which we don’t really understand,” says Naidoo.
It is currently impossible to determine when the two galaxies formed.
“We still have work to do,” says the researcher, who and his colleagues asked for more time to observe through the telescope to perform spectroscopic analysis, which reveals the properties of distant objects by analyzing the light captured from them. .
James Webb was sent into space six months ago. The $10 billion telescope is installed in an orbit 1.5 million kilometers above Earth.
It was equipped with enough fuel to last twenty years. In this way, astronomers have long hoped to make discoveries related to the universe.
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