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Space and PhysicsAstronomy

JWST Might Have Just Observed The Furthest Away (Therefore Oldest) Galaxy Yet

The galaxy’s light is believed to come from when the universe was just 300 million years old.

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJul 20 2022, 16:34 UTC
Artist impression of JWST on a background with all its targets. Image Credit: ESA, NASA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems / STScI / ATG medialab
Artist impression of JWST on a background with all its targets. Image Credit: ESA, NASA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems / STScI / ATG medialab

JWST is living up to the hype. After the first scientific results were published last week, even more new exciting stuff is coming out. Among them, there are the observations of what could be the furthest galaxy yet. Called GLASS-z13, its light comes from just over 300 million years after the Big Bang. That means that the galaxy is now 33 billion light-years from Earth (if that’s confusing, check our explainer).

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A paper with the findings was submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and while it waits peer-review is available on the ArXiv

This distant galaxy was discovered alongside another very distant galaxy, GLASS-z11, whose light comes from 420 million years after the Big Bang. Together with the current record holder for the most distant galaxy Gn-z11, and another contender called HD1, these two objects suggest that there might be a population of very bright galaxies which formed a lot of stars very quickly. GLASS-z11 appears to have the hallmarks of a disk galaxy already.

The team has put forward some caveats while these findings will have to be checked again and again. JWST is a brand new observatory, so there could be uncertainties that have not been taken care of – but luckily, JWST is equipped to test the distance of these objects with another method.

If these galaxies are confirmed at these distances, it would suggest that there are a lot more bright ancient galaxies waiting to be spotted by JWST, and that the space telescope will push the cosmic frontier of infrared astronomy just a few hundred million years of the Big Bang.

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[h/t: New Scientist]


Space and PhysicsAstronomy
  • galaxies,

  • JWST,

  • Astronomy