JWST May Have Just Observed The Furthest Away Galaxy Yet

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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is living up to expectations. Following the publication of the first scientific results last week, even more exciting news is on the way. Among them are observations of what could be the universe’s farthest galaxy. Its light, known as GLASS-z13, comes from just over 300 million years after the Big Bang. That means the galaxy is now 33 billion light-years away from Earth.

The findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and the paper is available on the ArXiv while it is peer-reviewed.

This distant galaxy was discovered alongside GLASS-z11, whose light was detected 420 million years after the Big Bang. Together with the current record holder for the most distant galaxy, Gn-z11, and another contender known as HD1, these two objects imply that there may be a population of very bright galaxies that formed a large number of stars very quickly. GLASS-z11 appears to already have the characteristics of a disc galaxy.

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The team has provided some caveats, and these findings will need to be double-checked, but because JWST is a brand new observatory, there may be uncertainties that have not been addressed. Thankfully, JWST is equipped to test the distance of these objects using another method.

If these galaxies are confirmed at these distances, it implies that there are many more bright ancient galaxies out there waiting to be discovered. The JWST is truly pushing the cosmic frontier of infrared astronomy.

Findings like this can open up our perspective on the vastness of our universe and what may be out there. At the same time, sometimes it feels increasingly more important to figure out what the heck we have going on on our own planet.

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