NASA's most powerful space telescope captured a mysterious 'ghostly' object

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope came across a mysterious but familiar 'ghostly' object that was entirely undetectable by Hubble.

1 minute & 38 seconds read time

The world's most powerful space telescope, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, has honed its extremely sensitive instruments on a mysterious object millions of light years away from Earth.

NASA's most powerful space telescope captured a mysterious 'ghostly' object 225552

The object in question is officially called AzTECC71, a dusty star-forming galaxy that dates back to the early stages of the universe, nearly 1 billion years after the occurrence of the Big Bang. Notably, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was unable to see the galaxy with its instruments, but follow-up observations from Webb has captured a faint image of the distant galaxy, revealing qualities that previously went unnoticed.

Webb has captured an image of one of the oldest objects in the known universe, and while that is exciting in itself, astronomers are more excited for the implications of such a discovery - stellar nurseries like AzTECC71 could be three to ten times more common than previously thought.

Color composite of galaxy AzTECC71 by James Webb Space Telescope

Color composite of galaxy AzTECC71 by James Webb Space Telescope

"This thing is a real monster," said University of Texas postdoctoral researcher Jed McKinney, coauthor of a recent paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, in a new press release. "Even though it looks like a little blob, it's actually forming hundreds of new stars every year."

"And the fact that even something that extreme is barely visible in the most sensitive imaging from our newest telescope is so exciting to me," he added. "It's potentially telling us there's a whole population of galaxies that have been hiding from us."

"Until now, the only way we've been able to see galaxies in the early universe is from an optical perspective with Hubble," McKinney said in the statement. "That means our understanding of the history of galaxy evolution is biased because we're only seeing the unobscured, less dusty galaxies."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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