Using images produced by NASA’s James Webb Telescope, researchers confirmed Wednesday they found six known galaxies truly are much larger than first believed, raising questions about the formation of the universe.

According to a journal Nature article, scientists from the United States, Spain, Denmark, and Australia now think that the recently found true size of the six galaxies raises concerns about the early years and formation of the universe.

Three galaxy clusters coming together to make a megacluster were depicted in images NASA created from the telescope a week ago.

The $10 billion telescope’s first complete collection of images were made public by the space agency in July.

So far, nearly two dozen different study papers have been inspired by the images.

Joel Leja, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, said in a statement on Wednesday that “these objects are way more massive than anyone anticipated.”

“At this stage, we expected only to find tiny, young, baby galaxies, but we’ve found galaxies that are as mature as our own in what was once thought to be the universe’s infancy.

“Because they were so big and bright, we began modeling and tried to identify what they were. My first idea was we had made a mistake and we would just find it and move on with our lives. But despite our best efforts, we have not yet discovered that error.

Leja and his colleagues discovered the star systems were as big or developed as the Milky Way at a period when the universe was only 3% of its current age. Leja modeled the light from the galaxies in question. That dates back to the Great Bang, which occurred between 500 million and 700 million years ago.

“For the first time, we peered into the very early cosmos without knowing what we would discover. It turns out that what we discovered is so unforeseen that it actually poses challenges for science. It casts doubt on the theory of early galaxy formation as a whole “said he.

It would be necessary to change the cosmological models or our assumption about how galaxies formed during the early universe, starting as small clouds of stars and dust and expanding over time, in order to explain their size.

The images are in conflict with 99% of cosmology, the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of the universe, according to Leja, who added that “either scenario demands a fundamental shift in our knowledge of how the universe came to be.”

The Near Infrared Camera, the main imager of the James Webb Telescope, allows researchers to peer back roughly 13.5 billion years in time. It is the biggest infrared camera ever put into orbit.

Leja said, “It’s essential that we maintain an open mind about what we are seeing since this is our first glimpse back this far.”

“Although the evidence suggests they are probably galaxies, I believe there is a chance that some of these objects could actually be hidden supermassive black holes.

“However, the amount of mass we found indicates that the known mass of stars at this point in the history of the universe is up to 100 times larger than was previously believed. This is still an astonishing shift even if we cut the sample in half.


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