According to a new study, ancient galaxies are brighter than expected and can shed more light on the early Universe. NASA scientists used the Spitzer Space Telescope to study some of the earliest galaxies in the Universe and revealed that those ancient galaxies are much brighter than initially thought.
These ancient galaxies that NASA has been studying for years are among the first ones that appeared after Big Bang, more than 13 billion years ago. Also, analyzing them revealed a potential cause for the Epoch of Reionization, the event that transformed the Universe into the vacuum full of celestial bodies and planets that we see today.
As the new study reports, approximately 200 million years after the Big Bang, the first stars in the Universe started to form and fusion into ancient galaxies found, at that time, in a thick cloud of neutral hydrogen gas which was spreading across the whole Universe, at that moment.
Ancient Galaxies Are Brighter Than Expected And Reveal More About The Early Universe
But, one billion years after the Big Bang, the Universe entered the so-called Epoch of Reionization. During that phase, the neutral hydrogen gas atoms got stripped of electrons, which ionized the hydrogen. The process permitted the light to travel, as the Universe transformed from an opaque cloud into a bright space full of stars.
Now, in the recent study, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope managed somehow to detect the light from 13 billion light years away, and it unveiled some of the most ancient galaxies from the Early Universe. The discovery was surprising for the scientists because, on the one hand, Spitzer was not meant for such a task, and, on the other hand, those ancient galaxies appeared brighter than initially thought.
“We did not expect that Spitzer, with a mirror no larger than a Hula-Hoop, would be capable of seeing galaxies so close to the dawn of time. But nature is full of surprises, and the unexpected brightness of these early galaxies, together with Spitzer’s superb performance, puts them within range of our small but powerful observatory,” explained Michael Werner from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.