James Webb Space Telescope broke the record for the oldest galaxy ever observed by almost 100 million years.
Light from the galaxy, known as GLASS-z13, is 13.5 billion years old and dates from when the universe was young.
Webb’s instruments could help astronomers see even older, more distant galaxies than this one.
That James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s new infrared heavyweight peered into the distance and found a 13.5-billion-year-old galaxy that researchers believe is the oldest galaxy ever discovered. Scientific operation of the powerful telescope began last week.
The spinning assemblage of stars, gas and dust held together by gravity dates back 300 million years after the Big Bang. This surpasses the previous record for the most distant and oldest galaxy ever discovered of 100 million years, a record held by a galaxy called GN-Z1. When GN-Z1 was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope In 2016, it took light from the galaxy 13.4 billion years to reach Hubble.
Researchers from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics shared their findings on the new record-holder galaxy duo called GLASS-z13 of forms published Wednesday. The scientists also identified another galaxy of about the same age, called GLASS-z11, which also trumped previous records.
“We found two very compelling candidates for extremely distant galaxies,” said Rohan Naidu, one of the researchers who discovered GLASS-z13 in Webb’s data New scientist. “If these galaxies are as far away as we think, then the Universe is only a few hundred million years old at this point.”
researchers told New scientist 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.
“With the advent of JWST, we now have an unprecedented view of the Universe thanks to the extremely sensitive NIRCam instrument,” the researchers said explained in the preamble.
It’s still early for discoveries from the powerful observatory that started on Christmas Day 2021 and started scientific operation last week.
Says NASA Webb is able to look further and detect galaxies as far back as the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang, helping astronomers understand more about galaxy evolution throughout the universe’s age.
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