James Webb: This is the most distant galaxy we know of in the universe

Thanks to infrared vision, the James Webb Space Telescope has looked farther than ever before and spotted a distant galaxy, a primordial object that is forcing cosmologists to rethink their models of the early stages of the Universe’s evolution.

It took 13.5 billion years for the light from JADES-GS-z14-0 to reach Earth. This means that James Webb saw this large group of stars only 295 million years after the Big Bang that gave birth to the Universe.

The previous record holder was a galaxy taken 325 million years after the Big Bang.

Since light from JADES-GS-z14-0 takes 13.5 billion years to reach Earth, the galaxy would be expected to be 13.5 billion light years away.

But in fact, due to the continuous expansion of the Universe, the distance is greater and exceeds 34 billion light years.

Brilliant for its age

The international research team that broke the distance record is surprised by the brightness of the object.

Many distant galaxies are particularly bright because of the radiation emitted by their central black holes as they absorb interstellar material. In the case of JADES-GS-z14-0, by contrast, the light appears to come from multiple young stars.

“All this starlight shows that the galaxy is hundreds of millions of times bigger than the Sun. This raises the question: how did nature create such a bright, massive galaxy in less than 300 million years,” Italian astronomer Stefano Cargnani and his American colleague Kevin Heinlein commented in a NASA press release.

They also pointed out that the galaxy’s stars do not appear to be composed entirely of hydrogen and helium, the only chemical elements created in the Big Bang.

“The presence of oxygen so early in the galaxy’s life is surprising and suggests that several generations of massive stars lived out their lives before we observed the galaxy.”

“All these observations tell us that JADES-GS-z14-0 does not resemble the types of galaxies predicted by theoretical models and computer simulations in the young Universe.

JADES-GS-z14-0 cannot be seen with telescopes other than the James Webb.

Due to the expansion of the universe, the light of the galaxy has shifted to infrared wavelengths that only the new pride of astronomy can record.

Santa Cruz University of California Dr. As Brad Robertson commented, “we can detect this galaxy even if it is ten times fainter.”

“This means that we may see other patterns earlier in the history of the Universe—perhaps in the first 200 million years.”

The discovery is described in three separate studies posted as preliminary publications in the arXiv repository.

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