Oldest known "dead" galaxy

News Excerpt:

Astronomers have discovered the oldest known "dead" galaxy in recent observations from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

  • This galaxy appears to challenge current models of the early universe.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):

  • The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built. 
  • It will allow scientists to look at what our universe was like about 200 million years after the Big Bang. 
  • The telescope will be able to capture images of some of the first galaxies ever formed. 
  • It will also be able to observe objects in our solar system from Mars outward, look inside dust clouds to see where new stars and planets are forming and examine the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

Key features of the newly discovered dead galaxy:

  • The newly discovered galaxy, named JADES-GS-z7-01-QU, stopped forming stars more than 13 billion years ago when the universe was only 700 million years old. 
  • However, astronomers are puzzled by the galaxy's sudden halt in star formation because, at that time, the dust and gas necessary to form stars was abundant in the universe. 
  • The first few hundred million years of the universe was a very active phase, with lots of gas clouds collapsing to form new stars. 
    • Galaxies need a rich supply of gas to form new stars, and the early universe was like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Dead galaxiesthose that no longer form stars — have been observed in the early universe before, but JADES-GS-z7-01-QU is the oldest such galaxy yet recorded at only 700 million years after the Big Bang that formed the universe 13.8 billion years ago.
  • It is also much smaller than other dormant galaxies previously observed in the early universe.

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