James Webb Space Telescope discovered the oldest known galaxies

James Webb Space Telescope discovered the oldest known galaxies

Using data from the James Webb Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers has confirmed the discovery of the earliest galaxies to date.

In work that NASA notes has not yet been peer-reviewed, the scientists determined that it has taken more than 13.4 billion years for the light from these galaxies to reach Earth because the galaxies formed less than 400 million years after the Big Bang.

Previous Webb data had offered candidates for infant galaxies, and spectroscopic measurements have validated the candidates.

These investigations revealed unusual and identifiable patterns in the dim galaxies’ radiated light.

Using data from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) program, the observations concentrated on the region in and around the Ultra Deep Field of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Starting with the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, the JADES program utilized over ten days of mission time to observe the field in nine distinct infrared colors.

A photograph captured by the James Webb Space Telescope depicts the region of space that was analyzed for the discovery.

NASA, ESA, the Canadian Space Agency, and M. Zamani (ESA/Webb) B. Robertson (UCSC), S. Tacchella (Cambridge), E. Curtis-Lake (Hertfordshire), S. Carniani (Scuola Normale Superiore), and the JADES Collaboration have contributed to the field of science.

In photographs, the light from the youngest galaxies is stretched in wavelength by a factor of up to 14.

Using data from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) program, the observations concentrated on the region in and around the Ultra Deep Field of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Starting with the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, the JADES program utilized over ten days of mission time to observe the field in nine distinct infrared colors.

In photographs, the light from the youngest galaxies is stretched in wavelength by a factor of up to 14.

Diagrams displaying data gathered by The Webb Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES).
NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI; M. Zamani (ESA/Webb), L. Hustak, and L. Zamani (CSA) (STScI). B. Robertson (UCSC), S. Tacchella (Cambridge), E. Curtis-Lake (Hertfordshire), S. Carniani (Scuola Normale Superiore), and the JADES Collaboration have contributed to the field of science.

NASA stated that astronomers sought for dim infrared-visible galaxies whose light abruptly stops at a key wavelength.

The organization highlighted that the expansion of the cosmos shifts the location of the cutoff within each galaxy’s spectrum.

The team then collected the light from 250 faint galaxies using the Near-Infrared Spectrograph instrument for three days, with analysis of the patterns on the spectrum by the atoms in each galaxy yielding a precise measurement of each galaxy’s redshift and revealing the properties of the gas and stars in those galaxies.

Four of the galaxies were found to exist at redshifts greater than 10, or when the universe was around 330 million years old.

Co-author Brant Robertson from the University of California Santa Cruz and a member of the NIRCam science team stated, “For the first time, we have identified galaxies only 350 million years after the Big Bang, and we are completely certain of their incredible distances.” Finding these early galaxies in photographs so breathtakingly gorgeous is a unique experience.

The next year, JADES will continue its extensive examination of another field, this time focusing on the renowned Hubble Deep Field.

 

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