James Webb Space Telescope Is Seeing Stuff That Shouldn't Be There And Astronomers Are Puzzled

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), operated by NASA, has recently provided humanity with a number of first-ever glances into the furthest regions of our cosmos. 

And as could be expected, some of these astounding new discoveries have prompted more questions than they have provided answers.

For example, scientists once thought that the earliest galaxies in the cosmos were small, slightly chaotic, and irregular systems. However, JWST-captured imagery has shown those galaxies to be stunningly huge, in addition to being balanced and well-formed – a result that defies and will probably rewrite long-held beliefs about the birth of our universe.

Astronomer Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, told WaPo that "the models just don't predict this." "How do you do this in the universe at such an early time? How do you form so many stars so quickly?"

According to WaPo, previous photographs of the universe, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope before it was deposed, appeared to validate the common belief that early galaxies were chaotic, disorganized places. On the basis of Hubble's restricted capabilities, the JWST, however, seems to demonstrate that such discoveries were an illusion.

"We thought the early universe was this chaotic place where there's all these clumps of star formation, and things are all a-jumble," the Space Telescope Science Institute's Dan Coe told WaPo, adding later that, before the JWST was launched into orbit, Hubble's imagery was "missing all the colder stars and the older stars. We were really only seeing the hot young ones."

Although the scientific world was surprised by these discoveries, there is absolutely no reason to be concerned. There is a long history of significant technological advances in astronomy and other fields leading to periods of rapid scientific discovery. We seem to be seeing one of those turning points right now, and even if breakthroughs are decades away, today's discoveries may well serve as the foundation for them.

And in reality, findings like these show that the JWST is accomplishing precisely what scientists had hoped for it to: it is exposing new, fascinating information about our mind-bogglingly vast cosmos while also providing answers to long-standing puzzles and posing new ones.

Reference(s): WashingtonPost

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