Scientists and observers have been making continuous discoveries in space with advanced instruments. The James Webb Telescope (JWST) made the stunning discovery of the Maisie’s galaxy. It is also one of the distant galaxies. But the new calculations and spectroscopic analysis have confirmed it as one of the earliest galaxies ever discovered! Let’s dive into learning more!
A team with astronomer Steven Finkelstein at the University of Texas discovered the incredible system last summer. Maisie’s galaxy is named after Steven’s daughter. She was born on the same day as they made the discovery. The team first estimated that the galaxy is only 290 million years old. However, their new analysis with more advanced equipment confirmed that it’s about 100 million years older than that!
Image Source: Engadget
“The exciting thing about Maisie’s galaxy is that it was one of the first distant galaxies identified by JWST, and of that set, it’s the first to actually be spectroscopically confirmed,” says the astronomer Frankenstein. So, Maisie’s galaxy is older than 390 million years after the Big Bang! Making it one of the oldest galaxies ever. Pretty incredible isn’t it?
Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec) of the Webb telescope is used in the analysis. It splits the light of an object into different narrow frequencies. This helps in identifying the chemical makeup, heat output, intrinsic brightness, and relative motion. According to the calculations, light from Maisie’s Galaxy has gone for around 13.4 billion years before being picked up by JWST.
The world of science keeps discovering new things continuously with advanced equipment. The discoveries of space and the universe continue to amaze us. Maisie’s galaxy is one such startling finding. James Webb Telescope observations declare it as one of the oldest galaxies ever in our beautiful universe.
Haro, P.A., Dickinson, M., Finkelstein, S.L. et al. Confirmation and refutation of very luminous galaxies in the early universe. Nature (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06521-7