The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered two new galaxies. One of them claims the title of the oldest and most distant known – it was formed 350 million years after the Big Bang. The second galaxy is younger, it formed 450 million years after it.
The telescope’s observations indicate that stars may have formed earlier than previously thought, perhaps within a few million years after the Big Bang. If the predictions are confirmed, this newly discovered cluster of stars will surpass the most distant galaxy that formed 400 million years after the origin of the universe.
The telescope needs to make more infrared observations before scientists can confirm the new record holder.
“When and how the first galaxies formed remains one of the most interesting questions,” the researchers write.
Webb’s latest discoveries were described in detail in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by an international team led by Rohan Naidu of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The paper discusses two extremely bright galaxies, the first of which is believed to have formed 350 million years after the Big Bang, and the second 450 million years after it.