It’s official: The Webb Telescope has made a “stunning” discovery the day after it was switched on

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dated: 2022-11-20 03:05:09 .

The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered dozens of distant galaxies almost as old as… [+] the universe itself.

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The most distant and oldest starlight ever seen was discovered by NASA’s $10 billion space telescope just days after it began its live science operations last summer, it has been confirmed.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has discovered an “undiscovered land” of early galaxies that existed 13.8 billion years before the Big Bang – the beginning of the universe – and which had not been detected by any previous instrument. It was able to do this because it was uniquely built to detect ancient infrared light that spans space and time.

Two old galaxies were found billions of light-years behind a giant galaxy cluster called Abell 2744. These first galaxies look very different from those seen near the Milky Way that the Hubble Space Telescope can see in visible light. Two of the most important discoveries of the GLASS-JWST Early Release Science Program and the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS), the two galaxies existed only 350 to 450 million years after the Big Bang. Papers from GLASS and CEERS were published this week Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Two of the most distant galaxies ever seen are shown in these Webb images of the outer… [+] Areas of the giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744. The galaxies are not within the cluster, but many billions of light-years beyond. The galaxy shown in the upper center image is extracted from the left image. It existed only 450 million years after the Big Bang. The galaxy shown in the center image below is extracted from the right image. It existed 350 million years after the Big Bang. Both galaxies can be seen very close to the time of the Big Bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago. These galaxies are tiny compared to our Milky Way, making up only a few percent of its size, even the unexpectedly elongated galaxy in the top center image. [Image Description: Graphic titled “Abell 2744 GLASS JWST/NIRCam” with two large images showing thousands of galaxies of different colours, shapes, and sizes, and two smaller pull-outs showing details in the large images.]

NASA, ESA, CSA, T. Treu (UCLA)

Both galaxies appear intriguingly compact – only 1% the size of our own Milky Way galaxy – spherical and bright, producing stars rapidly. They are thought to have formed stars just 100 million years after the Big Bang. This insight was made possible only by JWST’s ultra-sharp infrared images. “These galaxies are very different from the Milky Way or other large galaxies that we see around us today,” said Tommaso Treu of the University of California, Los Angeles, a co-researcher on one of the Webb programs. “Everything we see is new.”

The JWST’s immediate findings left astronomers puzzled. “These galaxies may not have merged until 100 million years after the Big Bang,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz. This primordial universe would be only a hundredth of its current age. “Nobody expected the Middle Ages to end so soon.”

One theory claims that these bright galaxies are massive and contain many low-mass stars. Another reason is that they are less massive, but have fewer very bright stars (so-called Population III). The latter theory, if correct, would mean that JWST has already discovered the first stars ever born

“This is a whole new chapter in astronomy — it’s like an archaeological dig when you suddenly find a lost city or something you didn’t know existed,” said Paola Santini, fourth author of the GLASS-JWST paper. “It’s just amazing.”

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

Source: www.forbes.com

It’s official: The Webb Telescope has made a “stunning” discovery the day after it was switched on

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