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NASA’s James Webb Telescope Discovers Oldest Dead Galaxy

dead galaxy

Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have made an extraordinary discovery: the oldest dead galaxy ever observed. This cosmic relic, named JADES-GS-z7-01-QU, ceased star formation when the universe was a mere 700 million years old, shortly after the Big Bang.

A Cosmic Enigma

The mystery lies in how this ancient galaxy abruptly halted its star-forming activity. At a time when countless stars were being born due to an abundance of pristine gas and dust elsewhere in the universe, JADES-GS-z7-01-QU chose a different path. Its sudden and mysterious transition from a bustling stellar nursery to a dormant state challenges our current understanding of the early cosmos.

Insights into Galaxy Evolution

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Nature, researchers from the University of Cambridge lead the investigation. Dr. Tobias Looser, a researcher at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, explains, “Galaxies need a rich supply of gas to form new stars, and the early universe was like an all-you-can-eat buffet.” Yet, JADES-GS-z7-01-QU defies convention by shutting down its star factory so swiftly.

Unprecedented Timing

Current models struggle to explain how this galaxy not only took shape within a billion years after the Big Bang but also ceased star formation with such haste. Typically, galaxies begin to stop forming stars later in the universe’s timeline. However, JADES-GS-z7-01-QU’s early demise challenges our assumptions. Francesco D’Eugenio, another researcher involved in the study, remarks, “Everything seems to happen faster and more dramatically in the early universe.”

The JWST’s Gaze

To uncover this cosmic enigma, scientists used the JWST’s powerful infrared vision. By peering through the thick veil of dust obscuring the earliest objects in the universe, they stumbled upon JADES-GS-z7-01-QU. Notably, this “dead” galaxy is not only the oldest of its kind but also significantly lighter than other similarly quiescent galaxies from the early universe.

Lost Star-Forming Gas

Some early galaxies lost their star-forming gas due to intense radiation from hyperactive black holes. JADES-GS-z7-01-QU’s fate remains a captivating puzzle, inviting us to explore the elusive underpinnings of galaxy evolution. As we gaze into the distant past, we wonder: What forces drove this ancient galaxy to silence its stellar symphony?

The James Webb Space Telescope continues to unveil cosmic secrets, and JADES-GS-z7-01-QU stands as a testament to the universe’s enigmatic beginnings.

Sources:

  1. Times of India
  2. MSN
  3. Live Science

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