James Webb Space Telescope discovers 'oldest galaxy in the universe'

GLASS-z13 was formed 300 million years after the Big Bang

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The James Webb Space Telescope has detected the oldest known galaxy in the universe.

It captured the GLASS-z13 galaxy that was formed about 300 million years after the Big Bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago.

This breaks the record set by its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, when it spotted galaxy GN-z11, which formed 400 million years after the birth of the universe.

The discovery was described in a paper on arXiv, an open access site where reports are published.

“Discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope have been pouring in since the release of its first full-colour science pictures last week,” New Scientist, the magazine that first reported the story, said on Twitter.

“This red dot is the oldest galaxy we've ever seen! The latest data from the James Webb Space Telescope has helped astronomers find the galaxy, which dates back to just 300 million years after the big bang.

“The galaxy, known as GLASS-z13, has broken the record for the oldest galaxy ever observed by nearly 100 million years.”

The $10 billion telescope was launched into space on Christmas Day, 2021, to observe galaxies formed after the Big Bang.

It is also studying the atmospheres of planets inside and outside of our solar system, so scientists can learn more about the evolution of the universe.

The first image from the telescope, revealed by US President Joe Biden on July 11, was of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago.

The first full set of photos was published the next day and included the Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet (five galaxies) and the Carina Nebula.

Webb is far more advanced than Hubble because of its breakthrough technology, design and location in space.

It is placed in Lagrange Point 2, an area that allows it to orbit the Sun, instead of the Earth, allowing it to see greater distances.

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Updated: July 21, 2022, 12:20 PM