A week After the first images of the James-Webb Space Telescope were releasedThe most powerful ever designed, it may have already detected the most distant galaxy, 13.5 billion years ago.
Named GLASS-z13, it appears to us only 300 million years after the Big Bang, 100 million years younger than the previous record, said Rohan Naidu of the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard.
He is the lead author of a study analyzing data from James-Webb’s early observations, which is currently underway. This data is published online to all astronomers on the planet.
Paper day! “Two remarkable luminous galaxy candidates at z~11-13 revealed by the Just Wonderful Space Telescope”. T… https://t.co/BmU5AGvYYF
One of the main tasks of this brand new telescope is to observe the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. In astronomy, looking into the distance is like going back in time. For example, light from the sun takes eight minutes to reach us, so we see it exactly as it did eight minutes ago. If you look as far as you can, you can see things from billions of years ago. Light from this galaxy was emitted 13.5 billion years ago.
Red round shape
This study has not yet been peer-reviewed, but has been published Preprint, for quick access to a community of experts. It has been submitted to a scientific journal for upcoming publication, Rogan Naidu said. But already many astronomers have enthusiastically commented on this discovery on social networks.
“Astronomical Records Are Already Staggering”, Tweeted Thomas Surbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for Science. “Yes, I only appreciate peer-reviewed scientific results. But it is very promising! », he added in the study. According to Rohan Naidu, another research team concluded with the same results “give hope”.
The galaxy was observed by James-Webb’s NIRCam instrument and discovered. “Deep Field”That means a wide picture taken with a long exposure time to detect faint glow.
James-Webb’s unique feature is that it operates only in infrared. The light emitted by primitive materials stretches and “Shy” Along the way, it passes through this wavelength that is invisible to the human eye. To draw a picture of this galaxy, the data was therefore “translated” In the visible spectrum: then it appears as a red circle, fainter in contrast, and white in its center.
“There’s still work to be done”
In fact, the twenty or so researchers involved in the study examined two galaxies, the other, called GLASS-z11, which is less distant. They have surprising characteristics, which we already know: “They look so big”According to Rogan Naidu, from “Very soon after the Big Bang. » “It’s something we don’t really understand.”he added.
When exactly were they formed? Can’t say for now. “There’s still work to be done”, said the analyst. He and his colleagues asked for more time with the telescope to perform spectroscopic analysis—a technique that determines the properties of a distant object by analyzing the collected light. This should ensure their distance.
The James-Webb telescope was launched six months ago. It is worth 10 billion dollars and is placed 1.5 million kilometers away from us. There is enough fuel to run for twenty years.
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