Astronomers discover ancient galaxies that should not exist

Half a dozen galaxies baffle scientists around the world. It’s the James Webb Space Telescope that captured them in what’s called a deep field image. It looks into the dim light of very distant stars and galaxies. The galaxies described in this new science study are so far away that they appear only as tiny red dots on the image of our most powerful space telescope ever. By studying this light, we can find out their age, for example.

This age seems to be a problem. According to the analyses, the light left the six galaxies when they were barely 500 to 700 million years old. The universe was still in its infancy at that time, just after the Big Bang. That galaxies already existed at that time is not surprising, but they were very advanced. The galaxies look so big and the stars so old. This is completely contrary to our current ideas about how the universe appeared and evolved in its early years. It is also inconsistent with previous observations made by Webb’s predecessor, Hubble.

Much larger than expected

“These objects are much larger than anyone expected,” Joel Lega, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, told me in a statement. press release. “We expected to find only young galaxies. Instead, we discovered mature galaxies like our own Milky Way. And that’s in the time period we consider the dawn of the universe.”

Scientists can tell by the color that these stars and galaxies were older than expected. Young stars usually shine bright blue. When they get older they get a red glow. For the James Webb telescope to see such red stars when looking back was simply not expected. Nor are galaxies so massive. It is roughly the size of our own galaxy at a time when the universe was only 3 percent of its current age.

Astronomers plan to soon refocus Webb’s mirror on these six galaxies to get a spectrum of the light. This allows them to immediately see if their hypotheses are correct.Image via Reuters

“We’ve never been able to look away in time, so it’s important to be open to new discoveries,” Lega says. “The data indicates that they are most likely galaxies, but who knows, maybe some of these objects are hidden supermassive black holes. Anyway, with this discovery, we have learned that the mass of stars from this period is 100 times greater than previously thought. This amazing. ”

So it’s time to rewrite cosmological theories about how galaxies formed after the Big Bang. Although first astronomers have to make sure the red dots aren’t really something else. But even if that were the case, one would have to come up with completely new concepts for these alternatives. Although it shouldn’t take long. Astronomers plan to refocus Webb’s mirror on these galaxies to get a spectrum of light soon. This allows them to immediately see if their hypotheses are correct. Exciting, because this first discovery may be the beginning of a shift in how we see the world around us.

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Megan Vasquez

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