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Images and spectra taken by the Webb Space Telescope show that the first galaxies in the universe are much more numerous, or much brighter, than astronomers expected.
“Evidence is emerging that the first galaxies formed earlier than is commonly believed,” – announced by astronomers at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, USA.
Several astronomers using the Webb telescope have found that the earliest stellar megacities are more mature and more numerous than expected. The results may ultimately change what we know about how the first galaxies formed.
Speaking at the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science CEERS collaboration, Ceyhan Kartaltepe of the Rochester Institute of Technology reported on the Webb Telescope images of galaxies formed when the universe was 500 million to 2 billion years old.
The longer waves that Webb detects allow him to see into the past. The Webb telescope gives sharper images than the Hubble telescope, and its sensitivity is higher. The CEERS group used the new data – both images and spectra to find 850 early galaxies, measure the distance to each of them, and determine their shape.
Classifications of galaxies are not mutually exclusive.
“Galaxies complex, and they don't necessarily fall into just one category, – says Kartaltepe. “Some galaxies, for example, are both disk-shaped and have a central bulge, like the Milky Way.”
Speaking at the same AAS press conference, Haojing Yang of the University of Missouri reported on even earlier galaxies . Using images from the Webb Telescope at multiple wavelengths, Yang found 87 distant galaxies behind the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, their light magnified and distorted by gravity. Galaxies have been dated between 200 and 400 million years after the Big Bang.
“The previously accepted picture of galaxy formation in the early universe must be revised”– the astronomer is convinced.
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