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James Webb Space Telescope makes 'astonishing discovery that was thought to be impossible'

James Webb Space Telescope makes 'astonishing discovery that was thought to be impossible'

This could change everything...

The hi-tech telescope being used by NASA has made an 'astonishing discovery' according to one of the leading astrophysicists in the world.

Dubbed the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), it was launched in to space back in December 2021, and in the two and a bit years since, the telescope has already made some remarkable discoveries about the cosmos.

Some of what it has found has even proved longstanding scientific theories 'seriously wrong'.

Our obsession with space goes back to the 1960s when the first man was launched in to orbit, followed by the iconic 1969 Moon Landing.

The launch of the JWST means we can now see light from right after the the Big Bang, as well as the first stars to ever be formed across the entire universe.

A successor to the legendary Hubble Space Telescope, its opening up a whole new world of discovery for the scientific community.

And it just keeps on giving following one new discovery surrounding black holes.

An image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
ESA/Webb, NASA and CSA, A. Martel

A go to for those who like to dabble in very amateur astronomy reading, black holes are areas of such immense gravity that nothing, not even light, can escape from it. Their standing within the scientific field has seen them the focus of many sci-fi shows and films, with one of the more recent being Interstellar.

Now, a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the early days of the universe has been discovered thanks to the JWST.

The telescope has a number of 'eyes' that can detect infrared signalling. And now they have found a small bunch of red dots that have been identified as some of the earliest galaxies ever formed.

And in a major development, academics say it now serves as a huge clue to unlocking the secrets of how galaxies and black holes started out.

The last known image of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Arianespace, ESA, NASA, CSA, CNES

JILA Fellow and University of Colorado Boulder astrophysics professor, Mitch Begelman, said: "The astonishing discovery from James Webb is that not only does the universe have these very compact and infrared bright objects, but they're probably regions where huge black holes already exist.

"That was thought to be impossible."

The work of Begelman and a team of fellow astronomers was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Explaining the traditional concept of how black holes are formed, Begelman said: "The idea was that you went from this early generation of stars to the galaxies really becoming mainly dominated by stars. Then, towards the end of this process, you start building these black holes."

Illustration of a black hole.
Getty Stock Images

These black holes that are studied are commonly thought to be collapsed stars that has no more fuel to burn.

But the red dots found by JWST indicate the first galaxies and their stars co-existed with black holes.

"[This new data] looks like [the process is] reversed, that these black holes formed along with the first stars, and then the rest of the galaxy followed,” says Begelman.

“We're saying that the growth of the black hole, at first, promotes the stars. And only later, when conditions change, does it flip into a mode of turning off the stars.”

The theory is now to be studied within the scientific community with modelling essential for others to put their backing behind it.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images / NASA / ESA / Webb / CSA, A. Martel

Topics: Science, Space, Technology, US News, World News, James Webb Space Telescope