NASA's James Webb Space Telescope recently captured a new image of a distant galaxy from the early cosmos, marking a significant discovery that has eluded detection until now.
Described as "ghostly" due to its mysterious nature, the galaxy, named AzTECC71, is depicted in the image as a hazy cluster shrouded in dust.
The discovery, outlined in a study published in The Astrophysical Journal by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, reveals that the galaxy existed 900 million years after the Big Bang during the period when the first stars in the universe were forming.
Jed McKinney, author of the study, said the galaxy “is a real monster” and “even though it looks like a little blob, it's actually forming hundreds of new stars every year," Space.com reported.
The James Webb Space Telescope, while portraying the galaxy as a faint speck of light, is considered groundbreaking by scientists since it provides crucial insights into the understanding of the early universe.
This discovery challenges previous assumptions about the dustiness of the early universe, suggesting it might have been more significant than previously thought.
McKinney emphasizes the significance. He notes "It's potentially telling us there's a whole population of galaxies that have been hiding from us."
The galaxy had been previously detected by the ALMA radio telescope in Chile but appeared to vanish in Hubble Space Telescope images, as reported by LiveScience.com.
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The JWST's advanced infrared capabilities enable it to penetrate dense dust clouds prevalent in the early universe, making it a crucial tool for identifying galaxies that would be nearly impossible to spot otherwise.
As the research progresses, McKinney and his team plan to unveil more faint, concealed galaxies using data from the JWST, further enhancing our understanding of the cosmos during its formative stages.
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