The first galaxies in our universe formed much earlier than previously thought. Scientists must therefore rethink how, for example, our own Milky Way formed and developed.
Scientists have discovered huge galaxies that existed some 500 to 700 million years after the Big Bang. In cosmic terms, it’s lightning fast. The Big Bang happened about 13.7 billion years ago.
“The galaxies we have seen are gigantic,” the scientists write in the scientific journal Nature. “We expected to see small baby galaxies because they hadn’t had much time to grow. But some of them were as big as our own Milky Way soon after the universe was formed, so that they had much less time to develop.”
The James Webb Telescope allows astronomers to see the universe in infrared. In this way, they look back in time, so to speak, almost to when the universe came into existence. “We couldn’t predict what we would see. But what we saw poses a major problem for astrophysics.”
That such large galaxies can form so soon changes almost everything we thought we knew about them. Scientists need to rethink how galaxies formed and evolved. Previously, astronomers thought of galaxies as large, slowly cooling clouds of dust.
“This is the first time we can look so far back in time. We must look at everything we see with an open mind,” the scientists write.
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