Scientists have discovered the earliest galaxies confirmed by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope using data from the telescope. It took over 13.4 billion years for us to receive light from these galaxies. They came into existence less than 400 million years after the big bang.
James Webb has achieved a new milestone as scientists confirm the earliest galaxies to date. Scientists have discovered the earliest galaxies confirmed by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope using data from the telescope. It took over 13.4 billion years for us to receive light from these galaxies. They came into existence less than 400 million years after the big bang. During this time, the universe was only 2% of what it is now. Such infant galaxies have been identified by earlier Webb data. As a result, spectroscopic observations of these faint galaxies have revealed characteristic and distinct patterns in their light fingerprints. As revealed by NASA, these observations were made possible by a collaboration of scientists who developed two of Webb’s instruments, the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). This instrument was designed to study the faintest and earliest galaxies.
Earliest Galaxies to Date
JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES)
Many years before the space telescope was even launched, back in 2015, the instrument teams jointly proposed the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES). In two years, JADES will receive just over one month of the telescope’s time. An unprecedented level of detail and depth will be provided by this view of the early universe. NIRCam, the first part of the JADES program, observed the sky in nine diverse infrared colors over ten days. Compared to Hubble’s deepest infrared images, this region is 15 times larger. In addition, the wavelengths are even deeper and sharper. Almost 100,000 galaxies are shown on the image, captured at different points in their history billions of years ago. This multiwavelength pattern of colors can be used to distinguish galaxies in the early universe.
The universe expands, stretching light’s wavelength. It is estimated that the light from these youngest galaxies has been stretched by a factor of up to 14. Additionally, the infrared region of the spectrum is used to search for faint galaxies whose light abruptly ends at a specified wavelength. In each galaxy’s spectrum, the cutoff location is shifted by cosmological expansion.