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Webb Telescope records most distant Milky Way-like galaxy yet

Astronomers have spied an intriguing phenomenon in the distant Universe – a galaxy that closely resembles the Milky Way – that is challenging leading theories about how galaxies evolve.

The distant system, called ceers-2112, was discovered by an international team using the James Webb Space Telescope.

Like our home galaxy, the newly discovered ceers-2112 is a barred spiral galaxy and is now the most distant of its type ever observed. The bar in the center of the structure is made of stars.

Ceers-2112 formed shortly after Big Bang created the Universe (estimated to be 13.8 billion years old), and the distinctive structure of the galaxy was already in place 2.1 billion years later.

Given the distance between Earth and objects from the early universe, when telescopes like Webb observe light from the distant cosmos, it is effectively like looking into the past.

“Unexpectedly, this discovery reveals that galaxies similar to ours already existed 11,700 million years ago, when the Universe was only 15% old,” said the study’s lead author, Luca Costantin, on a communicated. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Spanish National Research Council at the Spanish Astrobiology Center in Madrid.

Astronomers were surprised to see a galaxy so well ordered and structured at a time when others were much more irregular. Although massive spiral galaxies are common in the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood, this was not always the case.

The revelation, made possible by Webb’s highly sensitive light-detecting capabilities, is changing scientists’ understanding of galaxy formation and the early stages of the Universe.

Source: CNN Brasil

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