This is a cropped image of the James Webb Deep Field Image. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

James Webb Looks Back in Time, Sees Farthest Galaxy To Date

The James Webb Space Telescope continues making history. Researchers believe they may have found a Galaxy that formed just 235 million years after the Big Bang, making it the farthest galaxy humankind has ever seen.


Scottish scientists may have spied on the farthest galaxy humans have ever seen.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh used the James Webb Space Telescope to spy on a galaxy 35 billion light-years away, appearing just 235 million years after the Big Bang.


It is remarkable to catch sight of stars this far away since the universe has been expanding rapidly since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Scientists are cautiously optimistic, however, since further analysis is needed to verify galaxies’ ages fully.

Researchers have analyzed six faraway galaxies, including CEERS-93316, in their pre-print publication on July 25 on arXiV. However, a peer review has not yet been conducted on the work.

Infrared light is how we see the galaxy, which is Webb’s specialty.

Eventually, light reaches infrared wavelengths and becomes invisible to humans as it travels farther and farther away. Then, using “redshift,” astronomers determine how old the light is by measuring how much it has stretched.

If the light’s redshift is higher, it has traveled farther away; if it is lower, the light is closer to us. According to the team’s paper, CEERS-93316 has a high redshift of 16.7.


During Webb’s Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) survey, new distant objects have been discovered rapidly. Specifically, it’s supposed to discover galaxies at the most ancient possible cosmic age.

An illustration of how James Webb looks back in time. Source NASA / BBC.
An illustration of how James Webb looks back in time. Source NASA / BBC.

In exploring these early galaxies, researchers hope to learn more about how they formed. The survey also detected another galaxy with a redshift of 14.3, indicating that it was created about 280 million years after the Big Bang.

With Webb’s new images released on July 12, the universe has been seen in unprecedented detail.

A detailed spectroscopic analysis of all galaxies found by CEERS will be carried out using Webb’s instruments, including the Near Infrared Spectrograph. NASA describes it as an array of 0.1-by-0.2-millimeter-sized movable micro shutters, such as miniature windows.

As a result of this array, astronomers can see only the galaxies they are studying while keeping the rest of the view in the dark.

Due to its ability to break the light down into its component wavelengths, laser-focus reveals more clearly how light has extended into the infrared band.

In addition to providing a clearer picture of the spectra within the light, NASA says the breakdown also helps to determine the object’s mass, mass, chemical composition, and other physical characteristics.


Observers will learn about the type of stars residing in Galaxy CEERS-93316 at the time their light began to travel toward Webb. At the beginning of the universe, hydrogen and helium were the oldest elements, as the first stars were formed about 100 million years after the Big Bang.

It’s likely that many of these stars burned out, exploded as supernovas, or formed black holes. Other heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, iron, and gold were created by supernovas and nuclear fusion inside later stars.

Scientists will learn more about the age of this cosmically ancient galaxy and its stars’ lives once the spectroscopic analysis is completed.

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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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