11 Billion-Year-Old Milky Way-Like Galaxies

The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered 11 Billion-year-old Milky Way-like galaxies.


The James Webb Space Telescope continues performing above expectations. New photographs from Deep Space have revealed galaxies with stellar bars for the first time ever. Bars are elongated features of stars extending from the center of galaxies toward their outer disks when the universe was only 25% of its present age. This discovery is even more interesting because the two galaxies are very similar to our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The discovery of the galaxies has forced astronomers to rewrite science books on t formation of galaxies in the universe. The James Webb Space Telescope has helped astronomers rewrite our knowledge of the universe one more time. And this was not possible with earlier space telescopes such as Hubble. What Webb resolves as galaxies, Hubble sees as no more than smudges.

11 Billion-Year-Old Milky Way-like Galaxies

This montage shows different barred galaxies discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA/CEERS/University of Texas at Austin.
This montage shows different barred galaxies discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA/CEERS/the University of Texas at Austin.

Stellar bars are essential as they play a crucial role in the evolution of galaxies. Bars funnel gas into a galaxy’s central region, which boosts the rate at which new stars are formed. As explained by the researchers, stellar bats are practically cosmic supply chains.


“Just like we need to bring raw material from the harbor to inland factories that make new products, a bar powerfully transports gas into the central region where the gas is rapidly converted into new stars at a rate typically 10 to 100 times faster than in the rest of the galaxy,” explained Shardha Jogee, professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin.

But not only do bars help feed star formation in galaxies, but bars are also an important player in helping supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies grow.

James Webb

James Webb’s incredible ability to resolve astronomical data is changing the way astronomers study the universe. The two recently found galaxies believed to date back some 11 billion years are the result of data gathered by the  Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS). The discovery of the galaxies has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. In the study, astronomers also make reference to another four galaxies, which are believed to date back to around 8 billion years ago.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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