Study: Discovery of ‘Galactic Giants’ Fast-Tracked After Big Bang May ‘Create Problems for Science’

Study: Discovery of 'Galactic Giants' Fast-Tracked After Big Bang May 'Create Problems for Science'
Study: Discovery of 'Galactic Giants' Fast-Tracked After Big Bang May 'Create Problems for Science'

Africa-Press – Cape verde. The potentially ground-breaking discovery by astronomers was made possible thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, operational since July 2022, which has been offering ever-new insights into the distant reaches of the Universe.

The recent discovery of six gigantic galaxies that were formed shortly after the Big Bang has been hailed as “astounding and unexpected” by an international collaboration of astronomers.

What is particularly stunning is that these “monster” galaxies, remarkable in size and maturity, evolved at a speed that could potentially “rewrite” all current knowledge of the early Universe, according to the findings published in Nature.

The discovery was made possible by data obtained by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Ever since JWST – NASA’s partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) – was put into operation, the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope set out to offer insights into the infrared universe. Unlike Hubble, Webb canuse its infrared vision to allow astronomers to observe the trailblazing first stars and galaxies formed after the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago.

Thus, the team of scientists behind the new study, “A population of red candidate massive galaxies ~600 Myr after the Big Bang,” used data obtained by the telescope to home in on the six mega-galaxies that appeared as mature as the Milky Way. The six galaxies are estimated to date back to within about 540 million to 770 million years after the Bid Bang. Its true that the JWST has zoomed in on galaxies much older than these six, including some that formed within 300 million years of the beginning of the Universe. But Ivo Labbe of Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology explained why this recent discovery mattered so much.

According to Labbe, the team was “mind-blown, kind of incredulous,” when the results came in. They could not belive it was possible for “galaxies as mature as the Milky Way” to be formed so early in time. In fact, the study still referred to them as “candidate” galaxies, acknowledging the need for further confirmation.

Leja added that the discovery “upends what many of us had thought was settled science.”

“It turns out we found something so unexpected it actually creates problems for science. It calls the whole picture of early galaxy formation into question,” Joel Leja said in a statement.

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