Light from this galaxy has traveled 13.4 billion years to reach the gaze of the James Webb Space Telescope. Thus, it is crowned as the most distant and oldest galaxy ever captured by any human instrument. Its age is estimated to be about 350 million years after the Big Bang.making it a spectacular achievement for the telescope, according to webbtelescope.org.
The universe was barely 350 million years old when this galaxy beamed its light in our direction. At that time, the Big Bang had just happened—speaking in cosmic magnitudes—and the universe was still a shadowy, dense, nebulous mass that hid the first rays of light in clouds of material. Thanks to James Webb, it is possible to see the past of everything we know -and what we don’t-.
According to NASA, the spectroscopic observations from James Webb are so detailed that scientists were able to measure the distance traveled by light very precisely. In addition, the level of detail also allows them to analyze the properties and composition of it, even at all this distance.
Brant Robertson, an astronomer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, comments that “For the first time, we have discovered galaxies only 350 million years after the Big Bang.” A) Yes, emphasizes how sure they can be “of their fantastic distances”.
The James Webb returns the aeonic gaze of the universe and its first galaxies
The further away an object is, the weaker the light that reaches us from it. For this reason, a galaxy 13.4 billion years away is not exactly a beacon in the dark. In fact, It is the flame of a candle seen from a satellite scale.. But this is where the James Webb instruments come in.
With its MIRI and NIRCam cameras, the telescope is capable of capturing infrared light from objects. Due to the expansion of the universe during its journey through space, visible light undergoes an effect called redshift. This transports it to the infrared spectrum. The higher the redshift index, the further away it is from us.
The discoveries of James Webb have a redshift of 12.63 and 13.20. This equates to about 13.5 billion light-years on a more common scale. Likewise, it is a gain if we compare it to the 10.38 and 11.58 that the most distant galaxies detected with the Hubble Space Telescope have.
What will this help us discover about the universe? We still don’t know. The truth is that we are getting closer and closer to the beginning of everything. Whether we will be able to observe it or not, that is something that only the future can answer.
A look at the beginning of it all
Since its launch, the James Webb has been touted as an instrument capable of exploring the beginning of the universe. In addition to capturing beautiful images of merging galaxies Y other curious celestial objects, the space telescope has fulfilled its primary mission.
Thanks to its technology, we can improve our understanding of the first few million years of the universe. After all, the Big Bang is one of the most studied events by scientists, and with good reason.
Although there are models that explain the formation of the universe from its birth, to its development and its current period; none of this can be taken for granted. It is based on theories that can be overturned or improved with more and more studies. And this is exactly where James Webb fits in. Not trying to prove us right, but helping us show where we went wrong and what can we improve understanding.