NASAThe James Webb Telescope (JWST) has discovered a 13.5 billion year old galaxy that is currently the oldest in the universe visible to the human eye.
The galaxy, dubbed GLASS-z13 (GN-z13), formed just 300 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
The previous record holder, discovered by the Hubble telescope in 2015, was GN-z11, which is 400 million years old after the birth of the universe.
JWST captured a look at the GN-z13 with its Near Infrared Camera Tool (NIRCam), which is capable of detecting light from the earliest stars and galaxies.
This telescope uses a wide spectrum of infrared light to “look” into the past, which is done by analyzing the time it takes for light to travel through space.
Scroll down for video
The galaxy, named GLASS-z13 (GN-z13), formed just 300 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, making it the oldest galaxy in the universe.
While exploring the area where GN-z13 are located, JWST also spotted GN-z11.
Scientists at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts note that although both are old, each of the galaxies is very small, New scientist reports.
The diameter of GN-z13 is about 1600 light years, while GLASS z-11 is 2300 light years.
This is comparable to our own Milky Way, which is about 100,000 light-years across.
Paper published in arXivnotes that both galaxies have a mass of one billion suns because they formed shortly after the Big Bang.
While surveying the area near GN-z13 (top), JWST also spotted GN-z11 (bottom).
The previous record holder, discovered by the Hubble telescope in 2015, is GN-z11 (pictured), which dates back 400 million years after the birth of the universe.
The team hypothesizes that this happened as galaxies grew and ate stars in the region.
“These two objects already impose new constraints on the evolution of galaxies during the epoch of cosmic dawn,” the researchers report in the paper.
“They point out that the discovery of GNz11 was not just a matter of luck, but that there is probably a population of UV sources with very high star formation efficiencies that can compile.”
Gabriel Brammer of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, a member of the GLASS team and one of the discoverers of GN-z11, told New Scientist that further analysis would be needed to confirm the distance of the two galaxies.
“These are very convincing candidates,” he said. “We were confident that JWST would be able to see distant galaxies. But we’re a bit surprised at how easy they are to spot.”
Brammer made headlines this week when he posted a never-before-seen image taken by JWST.
The paper notes that both galaxies have a mass of one billion suns as they formed shortly after the Big Bang. In the photo, the location of galaxies
Gabriel Brammer, a member of the GLASS team and one of the discoverers of GN-z11, said further analysis would be needed to confirm the distance to the two galaxies. Brammer made headlines this week when he posted a previously unseen image taken by JWST (pictured).
The astronomer has shared a stunning photo of the spiral arms of a “phantom galaxy” officially known as NGC 628 or Messier 74, which lies 32 million light-years from Earth.
Webb took a picture of NGC 628 on July 17 and sent the data back to Earth, where it was stored at the Barbara Mikulski Space Telescope Archive (MAST), which is open to the public.
Brammer’s image caught the attention of other astronomers and space enthusiasts who wanted to know more about how he made the image and what they were looking at.
“For more context, the magenta hue here is actually ‘real’ in the sense that the emission from interstellar cigarette smoke (PAH molecules) makes the filters used for the blue and red channels brighter than the green,” Brammer wrote. in a tweet.
JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE
The James Webb Telescope is called a “time machine” that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to look back at the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even our solar system’s moons and planets.
Already worth over $7 billion (£5 billion), the huge telescope is said to be the successor to the Hubble Orbiting Space Telescope.
The James Webb telescope and most of his instruments have an operating temperature of approximately 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
It is the world’s largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope, capable of seeing 100-200 million years ago after the Big Bang.
The Orbital Infrared Observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA prefers to think of James Webb as Hubble’s successor rather than his replacement, as the two will work in tandem for a while.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It orbits the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 km per hour) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 340 miles.