After bathing the world in its cosmic excellence with spectacular first science images showing star formation, death and a patch of sky packing thousands of ancient galaxies, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has covered another mile. The stone has been hit. The world’s most powerful telescope has discovered the oldest galaxy in the universe.
Webb has looked at galaxy candidates that existed when the universe was just 300 million years old, an infant stage in cosmological terms. A team of researchers has analyzed data from the Grism Lens-Amplified Survey from Space (GLASS), part of early scientific work by the Webb telescope, and identified two candidates as GLASS-z11 and GLASS, the oldest galaxy in the universe. has been seen in -Z13.
The light from GLASS-z13 has taken about 13.4 billion years to reach the spacecraft’s mirrors, which are located about 15,00,000 kilometers from Earth.
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Even more astonishing is that while it took more than 13 billion years for light to reach us, the Milky Way is now located about 33 billion light years away from us as the universe rapidly expands in size. Astronomers have yet to unequivocally answer when and how the first galaxies formed, and it remains an intriguing question in the world of astronomy.
The scientists are likely to use the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPC) instrument on the web to get the details of these two candidates. (Photo: JWST)
GNz11 is the only galaxy confirmed to have occurred in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang, the moment when life came into our universe.
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In a study published in Preprint, researchers led by Rohan Naidu of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said that GLASS-z11 shows a markedly expanded exponential light profile, potentially consistent with a disk galaxy. “Our analysis is based on some of the first JWST/NIRCAM datasets that have been observed and released in extragalactic regions. Specifically, we analyze two early release science programs GLASS and CERS,” the team said in a preprint paper.
The James Webb Telescope began science operations earlier this month. (Photo: NASA)
11 and 13 represent the galaxy’s redshift, which is a measure of how much light is dispersed from these galaxies due to the expansion of the universe. High redshift indicates that the galaxy is far away from Earth. Although the research has yet to be reviewed, if it is confirmed it could be unprecedented.
The scientists are likely to use the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPC) instrument on the web to get the details of these two candidates. “Deep JWST observations can also identify relatively bright galaxies that may have been expected for epochs earlier,” the team said in the paper.
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