James Webb is watching the most distant galaxy known to date

James Webb is watching the most distant galaxy known to date

The NASA Space Telescope has been making one discovery after another since its official launch on 12 July, striking the world with incredible images of distant galaxies and the deepest image of the universe received to date, now discovering the oldest galaxy ever seen, showing that it appeared 300 million years after the Big Bang.

The first few hundred million years of the universe, a group of researchers went to search for new galaxies of the same or even earlier era using James Webb's NIRCam camera.

In a preprint that has not been peer-reviewed, scientists report the discovery of two "especially glowing" galaxy candidates named GLASS-z13 and GLASS-z11 .

"," said Rohan Naida, an astronomer from the Harvard Astrophysics Center and the first author of the article, just as we see our sun as it was eight minutes ago, the light of the GLASS-z13 galaxy was set on 13.5 billion years ago.

The observation of the formation of the earliest galaxies after the Big Bang is one of the main tasks of the spacecraft, James Webb. It is not yet known exactly when and how the earliest galaxies were formed, and the new data from the instrument will undoubtedly provide some answers.

The data obtained are only preliminary, but scientists can already come up with some characteristics, some of which are quite remarkable, starting with the fact that the two galaxies found are particularly massive: according to the team, they have already accumulated about a billion solar masses of stars in the 300-400 million years since the Big Bang, which suggests that in the early universe stars were formed much earlier and faster than scientists thought.

The team also notes that the luminance of these galaxies represents a "unique opportunity for detailed spectroscopic and morphological monitoring" at this distance. Simulation of their morphology suggests that they both take the form of a disk. In particular, the nearest galaxy, GLASS-z11, demonstrates a light profile that proves that its galaxy disk has already been well formed at z E 11.

These galaxies seem relatively small: about 1,600 light-years in diameter for GLASS-z13 and about 2,300 light-years for GLASS-z11 . These dimensions are characteristic of the luminous galaxies commonly observed at red shifts between 6 and 9 observed by researchers.

They add that their discovery is probably not an accident, adding that at this distance there is probably a whole population of ultraviolet light sources with similar star formation capabilities.

If GLASS-Z13 really existed at the dawn of the universe, its exact age remains unknown. It could have appeared at any time during the first 300 million years. Of course, this discovery has yet to be confirmed, but another group of astronomers led by Marco Castellano of the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome, working with the same data, came to similar conclusions, which give Nida and his colleagues some confidence.