Observing these “early” galaxies is one of the telescope’s main objectives. It aims to see deeper into space, further back in time, and clearer than any previous telescope. And as these images have poured in over the past few weeks, it’s clear the telescope has delivered on its promise abundantly.
Not to worry, these discoveries don’t mean a cosmological disaster is imminent and that all we know as humans should disappear into a black hole. As astrophysicist Jeyhan Kartaltepe of the Rochester Institute of Technology told the Washington Post, it simply means “this is a lot of fast science, conducted ‘in real time’.”
Wonderfully, the telescope is gathering oodles of publicly-available data for astronomers to sift through, question, and make remarkable discoveries. It’s science on steroids. Typically, scientific discoveries are made over time, at a decent pace. This, however, is another scientific beast altogether, as Webb is bringing back bucketloads of thrilling data quickly for scientists to examine eagerly.
As Kartaltepe said to the Washington Post, she is certainly not worried about “any tension between astrophysical theory and what Webb is seeing: “We might be scratching our heads one day, but a day later, ‘Oh, this all makes sense now.’”
Previously, images captured by telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed what scientists believed to be true of distant galaxies. Now, the new Webb telescope seems to show these findings were an illusion based on older technology. And that’s exactly what new tech is meant to do.