Using data from the first Webb deep field, astronomers have identified another galaxy in that image that apparently was able to form less than 250 million years after the the Big Bang, the theorized beginning of the universe.
Like the distant galaxies described last week, it also appears to have the equivalent of a billion Suns of material in the form of stars. The researchers estimate that it might have started star formation as early as 120 million years after the Big Bang, and had certainly done so by 220 million years.
You can read the actual research paper here [pdf]. The image of the galaxy to the right is taken from figure 4 of the paper. From its abstract:
We provide details of the 55 high-redshift galaxy candidates, 44 of which are new, that have enabled this new analysis. Our sample contains 6 galaxies at z≥12, one of which appears to set a new redshift record as an apparently robust galaxy candidate at z≃16.7.
The speed in which this galaxy formed places a great challenge on the Big Bang theory itself. 220 million years is an instant when it comes to galaxy formation, which has been assumed to take far longer. Either galaxy formation is a much faster process than expected, or something is seriously wrong with the timing of the Big Bang theory itself.
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