Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Astronomers say they have found the most distant galaxy ever seen

It’s a record that has been broken multiple times in the last two years alone, and one that we hope to break again soon.

Astronomers using the newly operational James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have announced the discovery of the most distant galaxy ever discovered.

If this sounds familiar, it has already happened twice this year. In April, astronomers announced their observations of the Milky Way, a moment just 330 million years after the Big Bang. Last month, in other JWST data, another was found 300 million years after the Big Bang.

However, the new record-holder is mind-blowing. Discovered in the context of the early universe, it represents a time just 235 million years after the Big Bang…

The discovery of a galaxy candidate, called CEERS-93316, marks the beginning of something amazing: Webb is set to open the early universe wide, giving us an unprecedented view into the dark and mysterious reaches of, well, everything.

A paper led by astrophysicist Callum Donnan of the University of Edinburgh has presented Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical SocietyPending peer-reviewed, and available on the preprint server arXiv.

The first billion years after the Big Bang are of intense interest to cosmologists. During this time, the hot, quantum soup that filled the universe after it came into existence somehow began to form everything: matter and antimatter and dark matter, stars and galaxies and dust.

Because light takes time to travel, any light reaching us from distant space represents an event buried deep in the past; So, in effect, light is a time machine for the far reaches of the universe. But the early universe – early in fact – is more challenging: it is so far away that any light that reaches us is very faint.

In addition, the expansion of the universe has spread even the most energetic waves into the fainter near-infrared parts of the spectrum, making even more visible objects difficult to read.

This makes detailed reconstruction of that time very difficult. It’s even more embarrassing, because this is such an important time.

The era before the birth of the first stars was called Cosmic Dawn. About 250 million years after the Big Bang, it filled the entire universe with an opaque cloud of hydrogen atoms.

It wasn’t until ultraviolet light from the first stars and galaxies re-ionized neutrally-charged hydrogen that the entire electromagnetic spectrum could propagate.

Thanks to this era of re-ionization, the Big Bang may once again shine unobstructed after about a billion years of light.

Naturally, we want to know more about the youth of the universe during this bleak period; How those first stars formed in the dawn clouds, how galaxies came together, how supermassive black holes can form so quickly in the first hundreds of millions of years of existence. Looking back on that far, haze timing is one of the primary functions the web is designed for.

Webb can capture near-infrared and near-infrared light, with the highest resolution of any telescope sent into space. It is designed to excel at detecting those highly redshifted galaxies, so that cosmologists will eventually have a detailed look at what is happening, if not at Cosmic Dawn, at least during reionization. can take a look.

According to Donnan and his colleagues, CEERS-93316 must be at least close enough to one of the earliest galaxies after the Big Bang. The team ruled out other possible explanations for the dim, red glow, and their analysis suggests that star formation in the galaxy candidate should have started between 120 and 220 million years after the Big Bang.

To confirm the object’s identity, however, subsequent spectroscopic observations would need to be made. It is expected that Redshift will confirm; From there, the object may become the subject of further, more detailed study, and help build a census of early universe objects.

If CEERS-93316 is a galaxy, it probably won’t wear the farthest galaxy ever. Even if CEERS-93316 doesn’t become such a distant galaxy, chances are good that we won’t have to wait long for Webb to turn an object.

Bring us those dim, red, distant treasures, web. We can’t wait.

research was submitted to Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical Societyand is available on arXiv.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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