NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope finds most distant known galaxy | Science & Technology

Over the last two years, scientists have used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (also called Webb or JWST) to explore what astronomers refer to as Cosmic Dawn — the period in the first few hundred million years after the big bang where the first galaxies were born. These galaxies provide vital insight into the ways in which the gas, stars, and black holes were changing when the universe was very young. In October 2023 and January 2024, an international team of astronomers used Webb to observe galaxies as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) program. Using Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph), they obtained a spectrum of a record-breaking galaxy observed only two hundred and ninety million years after the big bang. This corresponds to a redshift of about 14, which is a measure of how much a galaxy’s light is stretched by the expansion of the universe.  Stefano Carniani from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, and Kevin Hainline from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona were invited to tell more about how this source was found and what its unique properties tell us about galaxy formation.

“The instruments on Webb were designed to find and understand the earliest galaxies, and in the first year of observations as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES), we found many hundreds of candidate galaxies from the first 650 million years after the big bang. In early 2023, we discovered a galaxy in our data that had strong evidence of being above a redshift of 14, which was very exciting, but there were some properties of the source that made us wary. The source was surprisingly bright, which we wouldn’t expect for such a distant galaxy, and it was very close to another galaxy such that the two appeared to be part of one larger object. When we observed the source again in October 2023 as part of the JADES Origins Field, new imaging data obtained with Webb’s narrower NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) filters…

Source www.sciencedaily.com

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