The most distant galaxy from Earth discovered by a team of astronomers including a Thai woman

An international team of astronomers, including a Thai, recently discovered a galaxy that would be the oldest and most distant from Earth.

According to the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), this galaxy is located about 13.5 billion light years from Earth.

Known as GLASS-z13, the galaxy dates back 300 million years after the Big Bang, about 100 million years earlier than anything previously identified, said Rohan Naidu of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics.

“We’re potentially looking at the most distant starlight anyone has ever seen,” he said.

The farther objects are from us, the longer it takes their light to reach us, and looking back into the distant universe is looking into the deep past.

Although GLASS-z13 existed in the oldest era of the universe, its exact age is still unknown, as it could have formed at any time during the first 300 million years.

GLASS-z13 was spotted in so-called “early scatter” data from the orbiting observatory’s main infrared imaging camera, called NIRcam, but the find was not revealed in the first set of images NASA released last week.

When translated from infrared to the visible spectrum, the galaxy appears as a red spot with a white center, as part of a larger image of the distant cosmos called the “deep field.”

Naidu and his colleagues – a team of 25 astronomers from around the world, submitted their findings to a scientific journal.

So far, the research has been posted on a “pre-print” server, so it comes with the caveat that it hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet, but it’s already got the community buzzing.the world of astronomy.

A Thai astronomer in the team

Dr. Nicha Leethochawalit

Dr. Nicha Leethochawalit of NARIT participated in the GLASS (Grism Lens-Amplified Survey from Space) project, which is part of the Early Release Science program, using information provided by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Ms Nicha said that before the launch of JWST last year, NASA offered astronomers around the world the opportunity to propose what they wanted JWST to study, either as principal investigator or as part of the Early Release Science program , adding that she chose the latter.

She said that under the Early Release Science program, all relevant astronomers will have simultaneous access to information provided by JWST.

She described the race to be the first astronomer to find the oldest, most distant galaxy and get her research published first as intense as a treasure hunt, another paper by a Harvard University researcher published the same day as his said.

Ms. Nicha revealed that she was responsible for running the code to determine how far from Earth the oldest galaxy is, using a technique called “redshift” (“z”).

She found a galaxy with a redshift z=12.3, which is believed to be about 13.5 billion light years from Earth.

On her decision to study astronomy, Ms Nicha said she did not know whether the course she had chosen would be useful or not.

But after she started working, she realized she had made the right decision.

Originally from Nakhon Pathom, she studied at Mahidol Wittayanusorn High School.

She then received a NARIT scholarship to study astronomical physics for her BA, MA and PhD at the University of Chicago and the California Institute of Technology in the US.

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Source: Thai PBS World, Postsus

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