(ORDO NEWS) — In images from the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered two galaxies that arose no later than 300 and 400 million years after the Big Bang.
The start of star formation in these galaxies could have started as little as 100 million years after the Big Bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago.
Using the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered two bright galaxies that existed about 300 and 400 million years after the Big Bang.
Their extreme brightness is rather unexpected. Young galaxies turn gas into stars as fast as they can, and they appear compressed into spherical or disk shapes that are much smaller than our Milky Way galaxy.
Star formation in these galaxies could have begun as little as 100 million years after the Big Bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago.
The results were obtained by scientists as part of the GLASS-JWST scientific program (space exploration using the James Webb Space Telescope).
The researchers found two exceptionally bright galaxies in the GLASS-JWST images.
These galaxies existed approximately 450 and 350 million years after the Big Bang. Future spectroscopic measurements using Webb will help confirm the dating.
Webb’s observations led astronomers to agree that galaxies in the early universe were much brighter than expected.
This will make it easier for Webb to search for even more early galaxies in subsequent deep space explorations.
“These galaxies should have started coming together maybe just 100 million years after the Big Bang. Nobody expected the Dark Ages to end so early,” said co-author Garth Illingworth.
“The age of the primordial universe was only one-hundredth of today.”
Co-author Erica Nelson said: “Our team measured the shape of these first galaxies; their calm, orderly disks challenge our understanding of how the first galaxies formed in the cramped and chaotic early universe.”
Current distance estimates for these ancient galaxies are based on measurements of their infrared radiation.
Subsequent spectroscopic measurements showing how light is stretched out in an expanding universe will provide an independent verification of the age of galaxies.
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