Thai Astronomers Discover 13 Ancient Galaxies
Thai astronomers at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) announced on February 1, that they have made a groundbreaking discovery of 13 low-mass galaxies using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
According to NARIT, these 13 newly observed galaxies are nearly as old as the universe itself, having been formed approximately 13 billion years ago, or 550-700 million years after the Big Bang, during a period known as the Epoch of Reionization. It is believed that during the Epoch of Reionization the first stars and galaxies started to form from the hot gases left over after the Big Bang, making these 13 galaxies some of the oldest ever observed.
With masses 10 to 100 times lower than the Milky Way, they are also some of the smallest galaxies ever detected. This makes them very challenging to observe due to their faintness and distance from Earth, therefore, requiring the use of large, advanced telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope. Further analysis has determined that the average age of stars within these galaxies are between 30 to 200 million years, and 1 to 10 new stars are being produced annually. The James Webb Space Telescope is continuing to gather data on the mass, age, shape, and mineral composition of these galaxies to help astronomers unlock the secrets of the earliest low-mass galaxies and further explore the dawn of the universe.