Astronomers around the world have once again received a stunning discovery that will allow a better understanding of the origin of the Universe. As part of an independent study, a group of scientists found the Macy’s galaxy, which is included in the list of the four oldest galaxies in the entire history of observations. They published their findings in the journal Nature, and briefly about the discovery tells Phys.org.
Macy’s galaxy was spotted back in the summer of 2022, and then scientists assumed that this is a relic object. However, it took a full year and spectroscopic observations to confirm this fact. The new study has measured the exact age of this object – it turned out that the galaxy was formed just 390 million years after the Big Bang. This makes it one of the four oldest galaxies in the history of observations.
It is worth noting that the Macy’s galaxy was named in honor of the daughter of astrophysicist Stephen Finkelstein, who led the research team that first noticed the galaxy. To confirm the fact of its existence, scientists helped sensitive instruments installed on board the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
“The most interesting thing about the Macy galaxy is that it happens to be one of the first distant galaxies identified with JWST, and of this set, it’s the first one whose existence is actually confirmed spectroscopically,” said Steven Finkelstein, a professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.
By the way, as part of other studies, astrophysicists are currently assessing the characteristics of about a dozen other galaxies, which may be even older than the Macy’s galaxy. As for the latter, it turned out to be difficult to understand how the Universe could so quickly create such a massive galaxy.
This discovery is an important step in the study of ancient galaxies that will help scientists better understand how the Universe came into being. According to experts, the Macy’s galaxy could be the key to solving this mystery.