Six large, ancient galaxies that astronomers call “universe breakers”, have been found. This discovery could upend existing theories about cosmology.
The PS8.3bn James Webb telescope detected galaxies that are thought to be within 600 million years of Big Bang.
Scientists are stunned by the maturity and size of mega-galaxies, despite the fact that the telescope is only one year old.
Astronomers believed they made a mistake when spotting the “monsters”.
Ivo Labbe from Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology was the lead researcher. He said that while most galaxies are small and are slowly growing in size, there are some monsters that are fast-tracking to maturity. It is not clear why this is so or how it would work.
Labbe stated, “We were completely blown away and almost incredulous.”
Scientists published their findings in Nature, revealing that the six galaxies weigh billions of millions more than the sun.
They are thought to be very compact, fitting in as many stars and the Milky Way in a small space.
Joel Leja from Pennsylvania State University was part of the study. He said that the discovery “upends the settled science many of us believed to be established science”.
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“It turned out that we discovered something so surprising it actually creates problems in science. This changes the entire picture of early galaxy formation.
Theories suggest that the universe experienced rapid expansion and then cooled down for several hundred million years. This allowed gas to coalesce into gas and eventually collapse to form the first stars and galaxies. This is called the dark ages.
Webb telescope data included observations of new galaxies.
NASA The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched nearly 33 years ago, is the European Space Agency’s Webb.
The Webb is larger and more powerful than the Hubble. It can see through dust clouds with its infrared vision, and locate galaxies previously unknown.
Scientists are hopeful of observing the first stars and galaxies formed after the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago.
The research team still awaits official confirmation that the galaxies have been confirmed by sensitive spectroscopy. Mr Leja stated that it is possible for some objects to not be galaxies but instead obscure supermassive black hole.
Although some might prove smaller than others, the odds are that at least some of them will be galactic giants, Mr Labbe stated. “We will find out in the next year.”