Six hypothetical galaxies that may have formed so early in the universe’s history and that are so enormous that they shouldn’t be viable based on current cosmological theory have been found by an international team of astrophysicists in a recent study. These massive galaxies, occurred approximately 500–700 million years after the Big Bang, or more than 13 billion years ago, each candidate galaxy may have been there at the beginning of the universe. Moreover, they are enormous, holding almost as many stars as the present-day Milky Way Galaxy.

massive galaxies
massive galaxies

On February 22, Nelson and her colleagues—among them the first author, Ivo Labbé of Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology—published their findings in the journal Nature. The most potent telescope ever sent into space, James Webb, which launched in December 2021, has not yet discovered the first galaxies. Another team of researchers discovered four galaxies last year that most likely formed from gas 350 million years after the Great Bang. But in comparison to the new galaxies, those objects were practically shrimpy, with many times less star mass. To be certain that these galaxies are as large and ancient as they appear, the astronomers still need more information. Nonetheless, their preliminary findings provide an enticing glimpse of.

Nelson added, “Another option is that these things are some other kind of odd phenomenon, like feeble quasars, which would be as fascinating blurred dots. There is a lot of excitement: Nelson and her colleagues, who are from the United States, Australia, Denmark, and Spain, organized an ad hoc team last year to look into the information James Webb was returning to Earth. Their most recent discoveries are from the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey carried out by the telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope initially studied this region of space in the 1990s. These photographs delve deeply into a piece of sky around the Big Dipper, which is a very uninteresting part of space at first view.

massive galaxies
Early galaxy formation

Nelson was looking at a portion of an image the size of a postage stamp. Those were so vivid and red,” Nelson remarked. “We didn’t anticipate seeing them.” She clarified that red light typically indicates old light in astronomy. Nelson claimed that the universe has been growing ever from the beginning of time. Imagine it as the cosmic version of salty taffy: as it expands, galaxies and other celestial objects move farther apart, and the light they generate stretches out. To human eyes, light seems redder the more it stretches. (Light from objects traveling closer to Earth, in comparison, looks bluer). The scientists performed calculations and found that their previous galaxies were equally as massive as the Milky Way, containing tens to hundreds of billions of sun-sized stars worth of mass.

According to Nelson, the Milky Way creates one to two new stars each year. During the duration of the cosmos, some of these galaxies “would have to be producing hundreds of new stars a year.” Nelson and her colleagues are eager to learn more about these enigmatic items using James Webb, but they have already seen enough to peak their interest. First off, based on calculations, it seems unlikely that there was enough normal matter—the kind that forms up planets and human bodies—at that time to produce that many stars so quickly. The existence of even one of these galaxies would test the boundaries of cosmology, according to Nelson. Seeing the past Nelson says the new discoveries mark the end of a journey that started while she was in elementary school. She wrote a report about the Hubble telescope, which was launched in 1990 and is still operational today, when she was ten years old. Nelson had a fixation.

a beautiful galaxy

She explained that since it takes time for light to get from a galaxy to Earth, viewing these things involves gazing back in time. That idea was so incredible to me that I knew right away that this was what I wanted to accomplish with my life. According to Nelson, the rapid rate of discovery with James Webb is similar to that of Hubble in its early years. Many scientists at the time had the opinion that galaxies didn’t start forming until billions of years after the Great Bang. But, it didn’t take long for scientists to realize that the early cosmos was far more interesting and intricate than they had first thought. “Even if we learnt our lesson earlier from Hubble, we still didn’t expect James Webb to observe such developed galaxies existing so far back in time,” Nelson said. “I’m very happy.” Pieter van Dokkum from Yale University, Katherine Suess from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Joel Leja, Elijah Matthews, and Bingjie Wang from the Pennsylvania State University, Gabriel Brammer, Katherine Whitaker, and Mauro Stefanon from the University of Valencia are also co-authors on the new study.


The recent discovery of these 6 old massive galaxies is breathtaking. We hope to know more about these in the future. We would like to know what you think about this space discovery. Let us know in the comment section below.

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