Astonishing Discovery: First Birth of Galaxies in the Universe Witnessed for the First Time

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Recent JWST observations have illuminated the early stages of galaxy formation during the Cosmic Dawn, approximately 13.3 to 13.4 billion years ago, a few hundred million years post-Big Bang. This period, obscured by a haze of neutral hydrogen, has been less understood due to its opacity which blocks light.

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Astrophysicist Kasper Elm Heintz of the Niels Bohr Institute, who spearheaded this research, highlighted that these observations by the James Webb Space Telescope are among the first to capture galaxy formation directly. He emphasized the significance of viewing the nascent stages of the earliest star systems in the universe.

The Cosmic Dawn, the first billion years following the Big Bang, is crucial for understanding how the universe’s earliest structures formed from the primordial plasma. JWST’s infrared capabilities are designed to penetrate the hydrogen fog, offering a clearer view of this formative era.

Heintz’s team focused on three galaxies, emerging about 400 to 600 million years after the Big Bang. These galaxies, described as “sparkling islands,” are distinct in their large surrounding gas reservoirs, indicative of active galactic formation. The abundance of gas suggests these galaxies were in the early stages of star formation.

Darach Watson, a cosmologist with the Niels Bohr Institute, noted that these findings represent the preliminary stages of galaxy formation observed. The study not only advances our understanding of early galaxy formation but also addresses fundamental human inquiries about our cosmic origins, as pointed out by astronomer Gabriel Brammer, also from the Niels Bohr Institute.

The research, published in Science, underscores the ongoing journey to unravel the mysteries of the Cosmic Dawn and the formation of the universe’s first structures.

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