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290 million years after the Big Bang: the most distant galaxy confirmed

290 million years after the Big Bang: the most distant galaxy confirmed

Careful spectroscopic studies by the James Webb Space Telescope have confirmed that the galaxy, called JADES-GS-z14-0, is the most distant galaxy we have discovered so far. According to analyses, we see it in the state it assumed only 290 million years after the Big Bang, as NASA writes. Not only is it unexpectedly bright and large, but the possible indications of the presence of oxygen are also surprising. For this to happen, several generations of massive stars must have already formed and passed by this time, the research team explains. Our theories and computer models of the early universe would not predict such an object.

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The new record galaxy was found as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) program to search for galaxies that formed particularly early. The previous record holder JADES-GS-z13-0 was discovered in this way. While it can be seen in a state about 320 million years after the Big Bang, JADES-GS-z14-0 is another 30 million years older. But precisely because the latter is so luminous and must consist of stars with a total mass of hundreds of millions of the Sun, there have been doubts about the exact distance. However, spectroscopic data collected over ten hours in January has now clearly confirmed the age, and at the same time raised many new questions.

Based on the data collected, it was determined that the diameter of the galaxy is about 1,600 light-years. Astronomer Stefano Cargnani explains, who participated in the analysis. According to him, the light captured by the space telescope comes primarily from young stars and not from a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. How the galaxy grew to its size in less than 300 million years is not entirely clear. Since they were found while searching a relatively small part of the sky, it can be assumed that many similar galaxies are still waiting to be discovered – perhaps closer to the Big Bang.

The James Webb Space Telescope looks into space at the L2 Lagrange point, far away from the Sun, Earth and Moon, so that its thermal radiation does not disturb the infrared telescope. There's a huge protective screen overlaying that – with an SPF of up to 1 million. Right after it was up and running, it began discovering more and more unexpected galaxy candidates for advanced galaxies that existed much earlier after the Big Bang than thought. It has therefore been pointed out for some time that our theoretical foundations do not appear to be sufficient. Research work on the new record holder is still being examined, but can already be viewed on ArXiv.


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