Webb telescope discovers oldest galaxies ever seen

Webb telescope discovers oldest galaxies ever seen

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Stéphane Charlot, a researcher at the Astrophysics Institute of Paris and co-author of the two new studies, told AFP that the most distant galaxy – called JADES-GS-J13-0 – formed 320 million years after the Big Bang.

He said that this is the biggest distance observed by astronomers so far.

The Webb telescope also confirmed the existence of JADES-GS-z10-0, which dates from 450 million years after the Big Bang and was previously observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

All four galaxies are “very low in mass,” Charlotte said, weighing in at about a hundred million solar masses. The Milky Way, in comparison, weighs in at 1.5 trillion solar masses by some estimates.

But the galaxies are “very active in star formation in proportion to their mass,” Charlotte said.

He said those stars were forming “at a rate similar to that of the Milky Way”, a rate that was “surprising in a universe so early”.

He added that the galaxies were “very poor in metals”.

This is consistent with the standard model of cosmology, the best understanding of science about how the universe works, which says that the closer to the Big Bang, the less time it took for such metals to form.

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