James Webb Space Telescope discovers ‘cosmic gems’ in the very early universe (Video)

Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have discovered star clusters in the “Cosmic James” arc that existed just 460 million years after the Big Bang. This is the first discovery of star clusters in a newborn galaxy, seen when the 13.8 billion-year-old universe was less than 500 million years old.

The cosmic James’ Arc, initially discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope and officially designated SPT0615-JD1, is a gravitationally lensed baby galaxy about 13.3 billion light-years from Earth. This means that light from this galaxy, as seen by the JWST, has been traveling to Earth for about 97% of the lifetime of the universe.

The international team of astronomers behind this discovery found five young massive star clusters in the cosmic James’ Arc. These clusters existed at a time when young galaxies were undergoing intense bursts of star formation and emitting huge amounts of ultraviolet light. This radiation may have been responsible for triggering one of the two major phases in the evolution of the universe: the era of cosmic reionization.

Galaxy cluster SPT-CL J0615−5746 seen by JWST as an arc of cosmic gems (Image courtesy: ESA/Webb, NASA and CSA, L. Bradley (STScI), A. Adamo (Stockholm University) and the Cosmic Spring Collaboration)

Studying these five star clusters can tell astronomers a lot about this early period of the universe.

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