Daily Telescope: The most distant galaxy found so far is a total surprise

Enlarge / Here is the most distant galaxy found to date.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI et al.

Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is too much darkness in this world and not enough light, too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications give you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’ll take a different route, drawing inspiration from very real images of a universe full of stars and wonders.

Good day. It’s June 1 and today’s photo comes from the James Webb Space Telescope. It is a success.

This telescope, launched 18 months ago, had as one of its express objectives to provide information about the early Universe. The simplest way to do this is to collect the faintest, most distant light that has spent the most time traveling to reach Earth.

In some revealing new results, the telescope has found and confirmed the discovery of a very bright galaxy that existed just 300 million years after the Big Bang. Based on their observations, astronomers believe that the galaxy is 1,600 light years in diameter and has a mass several hundred million times the mass of the Sun.

The galaxy may not have the most attractive name (it’s JADES-GS-z14-0, after the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey program), but in every other way, it’s a remarkable find.

“All of these observations, taken together, tell us that JADES-GS-z14-0 is not like the types of galaxies that have been predicted by theoretical models and computer simulations to exist in the early universe,” the astronomers said. “The discovery has profound implications for the expected number of bright galaxies we see in the early universe.”

Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Brant Robertson (UC Santa Cruz), Ben Johnson (CfA), Sandro Tacchella (Cambridge), Phill Cargile (CfA)

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