Home LATEST NEWS Webb may have spotted the most distant galaxy ever observed

Webb may have spotted the most distant galaxy ever observed


Named GLASS-z13, the galaxy appears to us as it was only about 300 million years after the big bang, 100 million years younger than the previous record observed, theAFP Rohan Naidu of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics.

He is the lead author of a study analyzing data from James Webb’s early observations, which is currently underway. These data are posted online for all astronomers on the planet.

One of the main missions of this brand new telescope is to observe the first galaxies formed after the big bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago.

In astronomy, seeing far is like going back in time. Sunlight, for example, takes eight minutes to reach us, so we see it as it was eight minutes ago. By looking as far as possible, we can therefore perceive objects as they were billions of years ago.

The light from this galaxy was emitted 13.5 billion years ago.

Enthusiasm of the experts

This study has not yet been peer reviewed, but published aspreprint“,”text”:”preprint”}}’>preprint in order to be quickly accessible to the expert community. It has been submitted to a scientific journal for forthcoming publication, said Rohan Naidu.

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But already, many astronomers enthusiastically commented on this discovery on social networks.

Records in astronomy are already falteringtweeted Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator responsible for science. Yes, I tend to applaud only in the face of peer-reviewed scientific results. But this is very promising!he added of the study.

Another research team also concluded the same results, according to Rohan Naidu, which gives confidence.

Fuzzy point in the cosmos

The galaxy was observed by James Webb’s NiRcam instrument, and detected on what is called a deep fieldi.e. a wider image taken with a long exposure time in order to detect the faintest glows.

The peculiarity of James Webb is to work only in the infrared. The light emitted by the oldest objects has stretched and blushed along the way, passing through this wavelength which is not visible to the human eye.

To draw an image of this galaxy, the data was therefore translated in the visible spectrum: it then appears as a red circular shape, rather blurred, and white in its center.

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In reality, the twenty or so researchers who took part in the study studied two galaxies, the other being called GLASS-z11, which is less distant.

They have surprising characteristics, for the little that we already know: They look quite massiveaccording to Rohan Naidu, from very soon after the big bang. It’s something we don’t really understandhe added.

When exactly did they form? Impossible to say for the moment.

There is still work, said the researcher. He and his colleagues asked for more observing time with the telescope to perform spectroscopic analyzes – a technique for determining the properties of a distant object by analyzing the light collected. This should confirm their distance.

The James Webb Telescope was launched into space about six months ago. Worth $10 billion, it was placed 1.5 million kilometers from us.

It has enough fuel to run for 20 years. Astronomers thus expect to be inundated with new cosmic discoveries for a long time to come.

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