Somewhere, deep in our universe, astronomers have focused the James-Webb Space Telescope on an astonishing galaxy. However, a very small galaxy produces stars at an insane rate.
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Studying distant galaxies is an astronomer’s dream. A long unattainable dream. But it is gradually becoming a reality now. Especially thanks to the sensitivity of the James-Webb Space Telescope (JWST). She allowed it University of Minnesota researchers (United States) to see a galaxy more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. Unlike other constellations.
“We have never seen the universe when it was so young [tel qu’il était, donc, il y a 13 milliards d’années, alors qu’il n’avait qu’environ 500 millions d’années, ndlr] With this level of detail”Patrick Kelly, a professor in the College of Science and Engineering, says: University of Minnesota press release. In this case, thanks to JWST, which is 10 times more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope, and it provides access to different wavelengths in the infrared. But thanks to a gravitational lensing effect, it makes the galaxy in question appear 20 times brighter than it would otherwise.
From past eras to present day
Spectroscopic studies have allowed astronomers to determine that this galaxy is the smallest ever observed. It is only one millionth the size of our Milky Way. But researchers say the galaxy is producing stars at a very high rate. It’s a surprise.
“The galaxies in the early universe were very different from what we see in the nearby universe today.Haley Williams, the paper’s first author, recalled. The discovery could help us learn more about the characteristics of these early galaxies. To explain how they differ from our neighboring galaxies and how earlier galaxies formed.