The Webb Space Telescope reveals early galaxies hidden from Hubble

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Webb Space Telescope is finding bright, early galaxies that were hidden from view until now, including one that may have formed 350 million years after the Big A cosmic bang.

Astronomers said Thursday that if the results are verified, this newly discovered number of stars would beat the most distant galaxy identified by the Hubble Space Telescope, a record holder created 400 million years after the universe began.

The Webb telescope, launched last December as a successor to Hubble, suggests that stars may have formed earlier than previously thought – perhaps within a few million years of their formation.

Webb’s latest discoveries were detailed in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by an international team led by Rohan Naidu of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The article details two extremely bright galaxies, the first formed 350 million years after the Big Bang and the other 450 million years later.

Naidu said Webb needs more infrared observations before claiming a new distance record holder.

Although some researchers have reported that they have uncovered galaxies closer to the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, those candidates have not yet been verified, scientists emphasized at a NASA news conference. Some of these could be later galaxies mimicking earlier galaxies, they noted.

“This is a very dynamic period,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, co-author of the article published Thursday. find out as a community which of those are likely to be true.”

Tommaso Treu of the University of California, Los Angeles, chief scientist for the Webb early release science program, said the evidence presented so far is “as solid as it gets” for the galaxy believed to have formed 350 million years after the Big Bang. .

If the results are verified and there are earlier galaxies out there, Raidu and his team wrote that Webb will be very successful in pushing the cosmic boundary all the way to the brink of the Big Bang.”

“When and how the first galaxies formed remains one of the most interesting questions,” they said in their paper.

NASA’s Jane Rigby, Webb’s project scientist, noted that these galaxies were “hidden just below the limits of what Hubble could do.”

“They were right there waiting for us,” she told reporters. “So it’s surprising that there are a lot of these galaxies to study.”

The $10 billion observatory — the world’s largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space — is in a solar orbit 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth. Full science operations began over the summer, and NASA has since released a series of stunning photos of the universe.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all matters.

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