While the James Webb Space Telescope can see farther away in space and hence farther back in time than its successor; the Hubble Space Telescope, it has been detecting things Hubble couldn't see, such as certain huge, deep-red, disk-shaped galaxies. Astronomers refer them as HST-dark galaxies.
A team of scientists refers to these galaxies as Ultra-red Flattened Objects, or UFOs, in a paper uploaded on arXiv on August 2, 2022 (but not yet peer-reviewed).
The redshift (or z) of these deep-red, disk-shaped galaxies ranges between 2 and 6. That figure indicates that we are seeing things as they were 10.3 to 12.7 billion years ago in the cosmos. So they’re definitely not our next-door neighbours. They are, however, within the range of what Hubble might observe if it could see their red light.
Webb can see these "HST-dark" galaxies because it observes in the infrared spectrum, which is where these galaxies glow. The current study's authors, led by Erica Nelson of the University of Colorado, Boulder, discovered 29 of these HST-dark galaxies. The galaxies are dusty, which causes their light to be redder and conceals them from Hubble's view. However, Webb's infrared sensors can see through the dust, allowing the UFOs to be seen.
Compare the UFOs to the record-breaking distant galaxies discovered by Webb, which had redshifts ranging from 11 to 20. That would be when the universe was between 400 million and 150 million years old. The UFOs, with a redshift of 2-6, existed when the universe was between 3 1/2 and 1 billion years old (out of its current age of 13.7 billion years). So, while these galaxies aren't very close to us in terms of time, they are nonetheless closer than the record-breaking findings.
Astronomers refer to the era when UFOs were active as cosmic noon. The cosmic dawn occurred during the early eras of the cosmos, when galaxies began to form. Then, around 3 billion years after the Big Bang, came cosmic noon. Astronomers believe that most stars and black holes formed around the period of cosmic noon. Astronomers currently believe that these UFOs, or dusty star-forming galaxies undergoing intense starbursts, dominate the universe's overall star formation rate budget at cosmic noon. So, as the report stated, because we have yet to investigate what we cannot see!
These gigantic, dusty UFOs may also be the ancestors of today's giant elliptical galaxies. We're all astonished by this discovery since astronomers thought that the bulging elliptical galaxies we see now would have had that bulging form from birth.
Isn't that amazing!
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