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Race to Find Earliest Galaxy Heats Up

Race to Find Earliest Galaxy Heats Up
Maisie's galaxy, imaged by the James Webb Space Telescope, may be among the earliest ever observed. Researchers estimate that we're seeing it as it was about 290 million years after the Big Bang.

In the past week, astronomers have been giddily sifting through the latest images from the James Webb Space Telescope and turning up golden nuggets nearly everywhere they look. Major news outlets including BBC, Nature, Space.com and CNET are reporting that several teams have found what appear to be a slew of galaxies seen much earlier than the earliest detected by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Among them is a candidate called Maisie's galaxy, discovered by the CEERS collaboration and named after the daughter of collaboration leader Steven Finkelstein at The University of Texas at Austin. Further analysis is needed to confirm the timing, but researchers estimate that we're seeing it as it was about 290 million years after the Big Bang.

"It's pretty bright and so it probably didn't just form, it's probably been forming stars for tens of millions of years, pushing that time horizon back even further," Finkelstein told listeners on BBC's Science in Action program.

Astronomers have been surprised that so many extremely early galaxies have been found just in the first weeks of observations.

"We're learning that the early universe is just filled with galaxies in a way that we just had no inkling that that's what it could be," said Finkelstein. "Maybe we just weren't creative enough or didn't dare to dream enough, I'm not sure."

Read More

The first galaxies at the universe's dawn, BBC Science in Action

James Webb Space Telescope beats its own record with potential most distant galaxies, Space.com

Four revelations from the Webb telescope about distant galaxies, Nature

The Webb Space Telescope Might Have Already Smashed Its Own Record, CNET

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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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