April 14, 2024

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Scientists are puzzled by the impossible galaxy that James Webb sees

Scientists are puzzled by the impossible galaxy that James Webb sees

How it was formed remains a mystery.

self made

Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have discovered a massive galaxy so old that it would be impossible to exist, challenging current models of how these structures form.

As detailed in A New study Published in the magazine natureThe quiet galaxy, ZF-UDS-7329, contains more stars than the Milky Way – despite forming only 800 million years after the Big Bang. This suggests that they somehow came together without the influence of dark matter's gravity, which shouldn't be possible.

“Galaxy formation is largely determined by how dark matter is concentrated,” study co-author Claudia Lagos, an astronomer at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research, said in an article. Statement about work. “The presence of these very massive galaxies so early in the universe poses major challenges to our standard model of cosmology.”

Dark effect

Dark matter is invisible, but is thought to permeate the entire universe. In fact, it accounts for about a quarter of it, dwarfing just six percent of the ordinary observable matter of which we are composed.

As such, it is literally a colossal presence, and its gravitational influence controls the shape and composition of large cosmic structures such as galaxies from the shadows. Its role was no less important in the primitive era of the universe. After the Big Bang, astronomers believe the first seeds of galaxies were born by forming around concentrations of dark matter called dark matter halos.

Because of their enormous gravity, these haloes will pull in surrounding gas and dust from the Big Bang that will be too hot to collapse into objects like stars. This would form dwarf galaxies, and over hundreds of millions of years, nearby dwarf galaxies would clump together to form the large galaxies we know today.

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Matter served cold

This hypothesized role of dark matter is a fundamental part of the most widely accepted cosmological model. But this new discovery casts a shadow over the work.

Researchers first noticed the existence of ZF-UDS-7329 11.5 billion years ago. But by conducting detailed spectroscopic analysis using data from James Webb, researchers were able to date its star formation by another 1.5 billion years. At such an early stage in the universe's existence, axial dark matter halos would not have had enough time to form.

Of course, to rewrite cosmology as we know it, we'll need more than a few outliers. Thanks to advanced telescopes like James Webb, we're discovering more and more of these confusing things. It seems impossible Cosmic anomalies ever.

“We are now going beyond what is possible to confirm the oldest peaceful mega-monsters existing deep within the universe,” co-author Themia Nanayakkara, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology, said in the statement. “This pushes the boundaries of our current understanding of how galaxies form and evolve.”

More about space: Scientists say that the passage of stars changes the Earth's orbit