One of the most evocative space photos is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image taken - as the name suggests - with the cameras installed on board the Hubble Space Telescope. This image shows a small patch of sky in the constellation of the Furnace. At first glance, the image looks like any other photograph of the night sky: there are plenty of stars visible against a black background, and it is difficult to find any known constellation or asterism in their arrangement. The approach to this photo changes dramatically when we realize that the objects visible in this photo are not stars. Each bright dot in this image is a separate galaxy. In this small patch of sky, Hubble was able to record as many as 10,000 galaxies that existed almost 13 billion years ago, almost at the very beginning of the universe. Well, now Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope has beaten its predecessor, and spectacularly.
In a study published a few days ago, scientists analyzing data from the James Webb Space Telescope announced that they managed to discover complex organic compounds in a galaxy that existed just over a billion years after the Big Bang, i.e. in the very early universe.
The latest flagship space telescope has decided to take a good look at a region of the sky known as GOODS-South. In the resulting image, James Webb was able to capture more than 45,000 galaxies.
Now scientists will analyze the image in detail, trying to extract information from it about how such large galaxies formed so quickly after the Big Bang? How fast were stars formed in them? Were any galaxies already appearing to age?
The initial analysis of the photo already brings the first conclusions. In almost every galaxy, scientists see signs of intense star formation. Massive, hot stars were rapidly forming within them. Is James Webb a revolution here? Astronomers indicate that before launching it into orbit, we knew about a dozen galaxies seen when the universe was less than 650 million years old. Now, a year and a half after the launch of the telescope, almost a thousand such galaxies are known. This is not an evolution of our knowledge, this is a revolution, and this is just the beginning of the work of this phenomenal instrument.
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