James Webb Telescope spots galaxies from the dawn of time that are so massive they 'shouldn't exist'

Six enormous galaxies, each approximately the size of the Milky Way, were discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope. These galaxies developed at an astonishingly rapid rate, 500 million years after the Big Bang.

A collection of galaxies from the beginning of the universe that are so enormous they shouldn't exist have been found by the James Webb Space Telescope.

The six enormous galaxies, which formed only 500–700 million years after the Big Bang but contain nearly as many stars as the Milky Way, have been nicknamed "universe breakers" by the team of scientists who discovered them.

That's because, if they're genuine, the finding throws into question everything we know about how galaxies form.

One of the experts who made the finding, co-author Erica Nelson, an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Colorado Boulder, said in a statement, "It's bananas" . "Simply put, you don't anticipate that the early cosmos could organize itself that fast. It shouldn't have been possible for these galaxies to form."

Although cosmologists had previously guessed that the process started slowly taking shape within the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang, scientists do not know precisely when the first star clusters started to combine into the earliest forms of the galaxies we see today. According to accepted hypotheses, these early protogalaxies reached adolescence between 1 and 2 billion years after the universe's creation, forming into dwarf galaxies that started eating each other to mature into ones like our own.

Since light moves through space at a constant speed, the further into the cosmos we gaze, the more distant light we encounter and the farther into the past we perceive. The astronomers discovered that massive galaxies had already exploded into existence very rapidly after the Big Bang, when the universe was only 3% of its present age, by using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to peer approximately 13.5 billion years into the past.

Because the galaxies are so massive, according to the experts, they "are in conflict with 99 percent of the theories for cosmology." This indicates that either the models must be changed or the way that science views galaxy creation must be fundamentally transformed.

According to Nelson, the Milky Way creates one to two new stars each year. "For the duration of the cosmos, some of these galaxies would have to be producing hundreds of new stars every year. These galaxies will test the boundaries of our knowledge of cosmology if even one of them is genuine."

Even though all available evidence indicates that these celestial objects are galaxies at this time, scientists haven't counted out the possibility that some of them may actually be huge quasars or supermassive black holes.

The Pennsylvania State University associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics and co-author Joel Leja said in a statement that "this is our first glimpse back this far, so it's essential that we maintain an open mind about what we are seeing" . "Although the evidence suggests they are most likely galaxies, I believe there is a chance that some of these objects could actually be hidden supermassive black holes. However much mass we found, the known mass of stars at this point in the history of the universe is up to 100 times larger than we had previously believed. This is still a remarkable shift even if we cut the population in half."

The giant galaxies were not visible in earlier Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the early cosmos, but JWST is about 100 times more potent than Hubble.

In December 2021, the $10 billion JWST was propelled to a Lagrange point, a gravitationally steady region beyond the moon's orbit. The space telescope was built to read the earliest passages in the history of the cosmos from the tiniest flashes of light that have been stretched over billions of years to infrared frequencies as they have traveled across the growing fabric of space-time.

The next stage, according to the scientists, will be to capture a spectrum picture of the massive galaxies, which will give them precise distances and a better understanding of the chemical composition of the prehistoric beasts lurking at the universe's beginning.

The findings were described Feb. 22 in the journal Nature