Astronomers have possibly discovered six “monster” galaxies dating back to within 600 million years of the Big Bang.
The James Webb Space Telescope identified several galaxies older than the Big Bang, many within 300 millions years. Galaxies as massive and mature as these suggest that they were on cosmic fast-track from the get-go, stunning scientists.
“While most galaxies in this era are still small and only gradually growing larger over time, there are a few monsters that fast-track to maturity. It is not clear why this happens or how it would work,” Ivo Labbe, a lead researcher at Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology, told The Associated Press via email.
The six objects weigh billions more than the sun. In one, the total weight of all its stars may be as much as 100 billion times greater than our sun, according to researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
According to Labbe, these galaxies are unique in that they appear to be extremely dense — compacting as many stars as the milky way in a relatively small space.
Labbe didn’t believe the results could be true. It was impossible to find mature galaxies as the Milky Way at this time in history. They still need to be confirmed, he said.
Some members of the team believed they made a mistake because some objects seemed so large and bright.
” We were astonished and incredulous,” Labbe stated.
Pennsylvania State University’s Joel Leja, who took part in the study, described the new bodies as “universe breakers.”
“The revelation that massive galaxy formation began extremely early in the history of the universe upends what many of us had thought was settled science,” Leja said in a statement. It turns out that we discovered something unexpected, which actually poses problems to science. It calls the whole picture of early galaxy formation into question.”
Leja said it’s possible that some of the objects might not be galaxies, but obscured supermassive black holes.
While some may prove to be smaller, “odds are good at least some of them will turn out to be” galactic giants, Labbe said. Webb said that The next year will reveal One lesson Webb learned is to “let go of all your expectations” and “be open to being surprised.”
Data about the galaxies were among the first transmitted from the $10 billion space telescope, launched last year to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope, which is approaching the 33rd anniversary of its launch.
The Webb, which is much more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope can see through dust clouds with its infrared vision and reveal galaxies that were previously unknown.
Scientists hope to eventually observe the first stars and galaxies formed following the creation of the universe 13. 8 billion years ago.
The post Scientists discover ‘monster galaxies’ near dawn of the universe: ‘Mind-blown’ appeared first on New York Post.