James Webb Focuses More on the GS-9209 Ancient Galaxy

James Webb Focuses More on the GS-9209 Ancient Galaxy

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been aiming its advanced instruments toward the depths of the Cosmos since Christmas 2021, and it’s now time for some extra attention on an ancient galaxy that was born shortly after the Big Bang. The galaxy in question is GS-9209, and it formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang, according to Phys.org.

Astronomers now focus more on GS-9209, an incredibly dense galaxy that exists 25 billion light years away from Earth. This galaxy is the earliest of its kind known to date. Despite being smaller than our Milky Way galaxy, GS-9209 contains a comparable number of stars. The combined mass of these stars is approximately 40 billion times that of our Sun.


Interestingly, GS-9209 is a quiescent galaxy, meaning it doesn’t give birth to new stars anymore. The presence of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, larger than expected for a galaxy of its size, may explain this phenomenon. The black hole’s powerful radiation could have expelled gas from the galaxy, halting star formation. This remarkable discovery was initially made in 2004 by a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh, Karina Caputi, and further research has now shed light on the galaxy’s properties by using the most powerful space telescope ever built.

Dr. Adam Carnall from the University of Edinburgh School of Physics and Astronomy explained, as Phys.org quotes:

The James Webb Space Telescope has already demonstrated that galaxies were growing larger and earlier than we ever suspected during the first billion years of cosmic history. This work gives us our first really detailed look at the properties of these early galaxies, charting in detail the history of GS-9209, which managed to form as many stars as our own Milky Way in just 800 million years after the Big Bang. The fact that we also see a very massive black hole in this galaxy was a big surprise, and lends a lot of weight to the idea that these black holes are what shut down star formation in early galaxies.

The new study was published in Nature.

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