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Pictures of the farthest galaxy from Earth taken by NASA |  Sciences

Pictures of the farthest galaxy from Earth taken by NASA | Sciences

BBC – This is a picture of the most distant galaxy ever observed – Image: BBC – NASA/ESA/CSA/STSCI/BRANT ROBERTSON ET AL

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has broken its own record by discovering the most distant galaxy ever discovered.

The star cluster, called JADES-GS-z14-0, was observed just 290 million years after the Big Bang.

In other words: If the universe is 13.8 billion years old, this means we are observing the galaxy when the universe was only 2% of its current age.

Webb used his massive 6.5-meter-wide primary mirror and ultra-sensitive infrared observing instruments to make the discovery.

The previous telescope record holder was a galaxy observed 325 million years after the Big Bang.

Astronomers say the most interesting aspect of the latest observation is not the great distance involved — incredible though that is — but the size and brightness of JADES-GS-z14-0.

By Webb’s measurements, the galaxy is more than 1,600 light-years across. Many of the brightest galaxies generate most of their light through gas that falls into a supermassive black hole. But the size of JADES-GS-z14-0 suggests that this is not the explanation in this case. Instead, researchers believe the light is produced by young stars.

Astronomer Stefano Cargnani said: “This amount of starlight indicates that the mass of the galaxy is hundreds of millions more than the mass of the Sun! This raises the question: How could nature create such a bright, massive and large galaxy in less than 300 million years?” Kevin Haenlein, James Webb Telescope.

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope was launched in 2021 as a joint project between the US, European and Canadian space agencies.

It was specifically designed to see more of the universe – and back in time – than any previous astronomical instrument.

One of its main goals was to find the first stars that lit in the early days of the universe.

These giant objects, perhaps hundreds of times the mass of our Sun, were composed only of hydrogen and helium.

They are believed to have lived fascinating but short lives, and in their hearts formed the heaviest chemical elements known in nature today.

In the galaxy JADES-GS-z14-0, the Webb telescope can see a large amount of oxygen, which tells researchers that the galaxy is already mature.

“The presence of oxygen so early in the life of this galaxy is a surprise, and indicates that several generations of very massive stars had already lived out their lives before we observed the galaxy,” Cargnani and Heinlein added.

The English abbreviation “JADES” in the name of the object stands for “JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Research”. It is one of several observing programs that use the telescope to look back into the universe’s first hundreds of millions of years.

“z14” stands for “Redshift 14”, which can be translated as “Red Shift” – a term used by astronomers to describe distances.

The greater the distance, the greater the extension. Light from the first galaxies ranges from ultraviolet and visible to infrared wavelengths, the part of the electromagnetic spectrum for which James Webb’s mirrors and instruments were specifically designed.

“We could have detected this galaxy even if it was 10 times less bright, which means we can see other examples even earlier in the universe – perhaps within the first 200 million years,” said Brant Robertson, a professor at the University of California. Santa Catarina in the United States of America.

The discovery and its implications have been described in several academic articles published on the arXiv platform (where studies are available without peer review).