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Webb finds “wide diversity of galaxies in the early universe”

Webb galaxies in the early universe
Click for full image.

New data from the Webb Space Telescope and presented this week at an astronomy conference has found that galaxies in the early universe exhibit much of the same range of shapes and morphologies seen in the recent universe, a result that was not expected.

The image to the right comes from the press release. You can read the research paper here [pdf].

The study examined 850 galaxies at redshifts of z three through nine, or as they were roughly 11-13 billion years ago. Associate Professor Jeyhan Kartaltepe from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Physics and Astronomy said that JWST’s ability to see faint high redshift galaxies in sharper detail than Hubble allowed the team of researchers to resolve more features and see a wide mix of galaxies, including many with mature features such as disks and spheroidal components.

“There have been previous studies emphasizing that we see a lot of galaxies with disks at high redshift, which is true, but in this study we also see a lot of galaxies with other structures, such as spheroids and irregular shapes, as we do at lower redshifts,” said Kartaltepe, lead author on the paper and CEERS co-investigator. “This means that even at these high redshifts, galaxies were already fairly evolved and had a wide range of structures.”

The results of the study, which have been posted to ArXiv and accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal, demonstrate JWST’s advances in depth, resolution, and wavelength coverage compared to Hubble. Out of the 850 galaxies used in the study that were previously identified by Hubble, 488 were reclassified with different morphologies after being shown in more detail with JWST. Kartaltepe said scientists are just beginning to reap the benefits of JWST’s impressive capabilities and are excited by what forthcoming data will reveal.

“This tells us that we don’t yet know when the earliest galaxy structures formed,” said Kartaltepe. “We’re not yet seeing the very first galaxies with disks. We’ll have to examine a lot more galaxies at even higher redshifts to really quantify at what point in time features like disks were able to form.”

In other words, it appears galaxies of all shapes, as we see them today, already existed 11-13 billion years ago, shortly after the universe was born. This defies most theories about the formation of the universe, which predict that these early galaxies would be different than today’s.

The data however at this point is sparse. Webb has only begun this work, and as Kartaltepe notes, they need to look a lot more galaxies.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

5 comments

  • Phill O

    Interesting, very interesting!

  • Mike Borgelt

    Never did like the Big Bang Theory.

  • wayne

    Paul Steinhardt
    “Time to Take the ‘Big Bang’ out of the Big Bang Theory?”
    (May 5, 2021)
    https://youtu.be/S7-HNi2ne44
    54:55

  • jim

    If the data continues to come in like this for far-redshift galaxies, you end up with a large conundrum: a big bang event had to have happened well before current estimates, contradicting other data. This is how new science is discovered. How many people today believe in luminiferous ether?

  • Milt

    Hummmm. Are these preliminary findings from the JWST an example of the kind of “disruptive science” that we aren’t seeing so much of anymore? Borrowing the terminology from that post, you can’t really characterize these results as “improving or enhancing” the status of the Big Bang narrative.

    With respect to Cotour’s comment about the grant process at USDOE, the early universe appears to be gratifyingly inclusive — “a wide diversity of galaxies” — if not equitable. Guess we can keep funding Webb on that basis.

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