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NASA’s Webb Telescope Spots Some of the Oldest Galaxies Ever Seen

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As was teased ahead of its launch, the Webb Telescope continues to examine the furthest reaches of space. In fact, the latest images released by NASA show a couple of galaxies that were born shortly—relatively speaking, of course—after the universe first formed. In the photos released, Webb is viewing a pair of galaxies roughly 350 to 450 million light-years away, meaning the light has taken approximately 350 to 450 million years to reach the observatory.

The agency says the galaxies in question likely formed approximately 100 million years after the cosmic event that’s thought to have caused the creation of the universe. “Unlike our Milky Way, these first galaxies are small and compact, with spherical or disk shapes rather than grand spirals,” NASA writes of the cosmic clouds.

NASA adds, “Webb’s new findings suggest that the galaxies would have had to begin coming together about 100 million years after the big bang — meaning that the first stars might have started forming in such galaxies around that time, much earlier than expected.”

The latest pictures were captured as part of a study led by the University of California at Los Angeles’ Tommaso Treu. “Everything we see is new. Webb is showing us that there’s a very rich universe beyond what we imagined,” Treu said in a press release. “Once again the universe has surprised us. These early galaxies are very unusual in many ways.”

It’s just the latest image released by NASA officials using the new technology aboard the Webb Space Telescope.

“If you think about that, this is farther than humanity has ever moved before,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson previously said of the JWST. “And we’re only beginning to understand what Webb can and will do. It’s going to explore objects in the solar system and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether potentially their atmospheres are similar to our own.”

“Our goals for Webb’s first images and data are both to showcase the telescope’s powerful instruments and to preview the science mission to come,” astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at STScI, added of the images. “They are sure to deliver a long-awaited ‘wow’ for astronomers and the public.”

For more photos from the Webb Space Telescope and other cosmic stories, check out our ComicBook Invasion hub here.

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