JWST discovery of 6 galaxies from beginning of universe ‘creates problems for science’

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Six enormous galaxies that formed just half a billion years after the Big Bang could rewrite what astronomers know about the birth of our universe. They contain some of the first stars that lit up the cosmos and are much bigger than scientists thought was possible, according to researchers from Penn State University.

Observations by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) offer fresh insights into the evolution of the universe, turning previous theories on their head. They have stellar masses between 10 and 100 billion times that of our Sun.

“We expected only to find tiny, young, baby galaxies at this point in time, but we’ve discovered galaxies as mature as our own in what was previously understood to be the dawn of the universe,” explains Joel Leja, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, in a university release.

Scientists believe one of the galaxies has as many stars as the present-day Milky Way, but it’s 30 times more compact. The first dataset from NASA’s JWST reveals objects just as mature, from around 13 billion years ago.

This was 500 to 700 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only three percent of its current age. The telescope carries infrared-sensing instruments capable of detecting light emitted by the most ancient stars and galaxies. Essentially, it allows scientists to see back in time roughly 13.5 billion years, near the beginning of the universe as we know it.

An image of 6 massive galaxies in space
Images of six candidate massive galaxies, seen 500-700 million years after the Big Bang. One of the sources (bottom left) could contain as many stars as our present-day Milky Way, according to researchers, but it is 30 times more compact. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, I. Labbe (Swinburne University of Technology). Image processing: G. Brammer (Niels Bohr Institute’s Cosmic Dawn Center at the University of Copenhagen).

“This is our first glimpse back this far, so it’s important that we keep an open mind about what we are seeing,” Leja says. “While the data indicates they are likely galaxies, I think there is a real possibility that a few of these objects turn out to be obscured supermassive black holes. Regardless, the amount of mass we discovered means that the known mass in stars at this period of our universe is up to 100 times greater than we had previously thought. Even if we cut the sample in half, this is still an astounding change.”

“The revelation that massive galaxy formation began extremely early in the history of the universe upends what many of us had thought was settled science,” the Penn State astronomer continues. “We’ve been informally calling these objects ‘universe breakers’ — and they have been living up to their name so far.”

Findings force astronomers to rethink how the universe works

The study, published in the journal Nature, has implications for current computer simulations used in cosmology. Such a high amount of mass would require altering models or revising the idea galaxies started as small clouds of stars and dust that gradually grew larger. Either scenario needs a fundamental shift in our understanding of how the universe came to be.

“We looked into the very early universe for the first time and had no idea what we were going to find,” Leja says. “It turns out we found something so unexpected it actually creates problems for science. It calls the whole picture of early galaxy formation into question.”

The JWST is the largest infrared telescope in space, designed to see the genesis of the cosmos. High resolution allows it to view objects too old, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope.

“When we got the data, everyone just started diving in and these massive things popped out really fast,” the study author says. “We started doing the modeling and tried to figure out what they were, because they were so big and bright. My first thought was we had made a mistake and we would just find it and move on with our lives. But we have yet to find that mistake, despite a lot of trying.”

Scientists hope a spectrum image spectrum image will provide accurate distances and identify gases and other elements to create a clearer of picture.

“A spectrum will immediately tell us whether or not these things are real,” Leja concludes. “It will show us how big they are, how far away they are. What’s funny is we have all these things we hope to learn from James Webb and this was nowhere near the top of the list. We’ve found something we never thought to ask the universe — and it happened way faster than I thought, but here we are.”

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

YouTube video


  1. well, I am as lay as they come, but are we not talking about the observable universe, when we say the universe, thus more than implying that there is more universe outside the observable?

    1. Of course there would be more universe outside of the observable. If you went to the beach and looked out over the horizon you would see something. But if you were in the USA you would not see Russia. But we know Russia exists because they invade other countries and people notice. I have never been to Russia just like you have never observed anything outside of the observable universe. But I am pretty sure Russia exists as I know people from Russia and why would they tell me about a country that doesn’t exist, even if our own media makes up lies everyday so they couldn’t be trusted to tell us the truth on anything?

  2. “Scientists believe one of the galaxies has as many stars as the present-day Milky Way, but it’s 30 times more compact.”

    More COMPACT????

    I suspect the author meant to say these galaxies (if that’s what they truly are) are 1/30th the area of typical galaxies with that number of stars.

    Anytime an expression of relative magnitude of area/mass/speed/etc. is made in terms of something as meaningless as compactness, I have to suspect the writer has some misplaced fear of fractions. Making the rest of the article of dubious value.

  3. Where the universe began??? Bub, the universe is the Universe! It goes on forever and has neither beginning nor end. We are IN it.
    As far as extraterrestrial life, I saw proof of that in 1967 and don’t doubt it.

    1. So a hundred times more mass in the universe than previously thought.
      Does this impact the newest “settled theories” and “facts” about dark matter? Please “Mr. Smart scientists” you must tell me now what to think.

      I have several friends that insist I believe certain things because “scientists” says they are true. I keep pointing out the new discoveries that come out regularly that say “scientists” had no idea this existed or that happens.

      My favorite is the discovery just a few years ago of chain of about a hundred active volcanos underneath the Antarctic ice. Yet, none of these “smart scientists” have blamed the purported ice shelf meltings on the previously unknown active volcanos.

    1. It is important to those who work tirelessly to explain away God. To those who Believe in God, this can be interesting but remains entirely irrelevant.

    2. It is important because it means our understanding of fundamental physics and how it drove evolution of the early universe may be very wrong. Physics is what technology is derived from. New physics = new technology. Examples: Electricity, Nuclear energy, Quantum devices (Integrated circuits, computers, MRI machines, cell phones, gps, etc etc etc). In other words, everything we all depend on to live these days. New physics could lead to literally unimagined new technologies.

  4. After believing in science and their theories of how the universe works most of my life, I think I will go back to book that tells me the truth – the Holy Bible. I used to believe in the Theory of Evolution, too, but I don’t anymore. Does that mean I’ve evolved?

    1. Creation and Evolution go hand in the micro-sand 🖖 The Sacred Geometry of Nature and Creator are Macro within and throughout Us…

      Melchizedek the King of Peace when broken down means Milky Way Essence or Milky Way King…

      Proverbs 4:7 & 7:4 Search out the Hidden Wisdom and Seek it like a long lost Sister or Treasure to add Understanding to the Knowledge …

      These Images are Awesome.

      John 1:51…. Christ’s Ladder 🪜 is the Power of Thought.

      Creation and Evolution go hand in hand .

      Jacob’s Ladder 4000 years ago
      Christs Ladder 2000 years ago
      Ladder of the Holy Spirit…

      Here We are! 47thology… Search it up and Much Love 💕 🖖🤠

    2. Yes – you’ve evolved to thinking the World’s 6000 years old and created along with the heavens in 7 days. May it give you a better sense of security and comfort.

    3. Gerald King. Such a cute statement. Remember your people put Galileo under house arrest for believing the Earth was not in the center of the solar system. I would consider your reviews as un-evolved.

  5. The life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers of India, is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or “One Age of Brahma.” This figure comes to us from the Golden Age, or Satya Yuga, when man’s mind is fully developed. Right now, we are in Dwapara Yuga, where the average man’s mind is only 50% developed, so there are bound to be mistakes.

  6. So the universe appears to have begun its existence as a mature, functioning entity. Just like…….Adam. It would seem that peering back into time may revealing evidence of a Creator.

  7. The concept of spacetime itself is flawed. These are fight here, and the perception and ascribed reasonings regarding a matter based study will always lead to flawed conclusion and assumption.

  8. What science knows about the universe is far less than constantly changing “follow the science” concerning Covid. It takes far more “faith” to believe in evolution, than it does to believe the Bible. If it were possible to walk thru the Garden of Eden a few days after creation, we’d see trees, rocks, animals, and Man – that ALL seemed years or centuries old – but in fact, only DAYS old. God can make new objects that look as “old” as he chooses. Creationists have no trouble when it comes to dates of objects – or galaxies – but “science” changes daily for evolutionists.

  9. If this discovery is verified, only those who believe the science is ‘settled’ will be troubled. The rest of us will be excited.

  10. Let’s see, you feel confident that the Big Bang resulted in the miracle of life vs a Holy God that created the universe and life with intelligent design and intricate detail. I think your hypothesis is without reason and requires faith far beyond the faith required in God for him to reveal himself to you. Seek him.

  11. No, that is not what the caption read. It read they were formed about 500-800 million after the Big Bang. So that light source seen would be about 12.5 to 12.8 Billion years old or so.

  12. Eventually we will find that the universe has no beginning, has always been and most likely will always be… the old “Steady State” theory was on the right track and simply needs some tweaking (lol). Further it’s extent is limitless, infinite. Anything else is not feasible. The idea of a “Big Bang” is pure fiction. It comes from somebody’s dumb notion that time is like a film which can be run backwards from the “now” to the beginning titles. Wrong.

  13. I am not very smart man, but since we are looking at the light of images from 13.5 billion years ago essentially and since the universe is constantly expanding wouldnt it make sense that everything was much denser because expansion had not yet occurred? Relativity is a strange thing! LOL

  14. Has anyone considered that we may be looking at the beginning of our own (or neighboring) galaxy since we are essentially looking back in time. With a relative rapid expansion or perhaps that is the other side of our galaxy getting pulling through a black hole and we are on the other side in a different part of the universe via the wormhole in the middle of the black hole?

    Just food for thought to ponder

    1. So the big bang for our universe is just the opposite side of the black hole caused by possibly a supernova like what we have seen in the present or past. The most difficult thing: confines my minds to prejudice in the inability that space and time is a set of variables but possibly just a couple of evolutionary tools specifically for our use to keep moving toward our unknown goal. Tasty meal for my brain, thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *