Identifying dust-rich galaxies in the early Universe


As the most sophisticated space telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched into space on December 25, 2021, pushing the observation of the human eye beyond any previous limit. Immediately after the JWST released the first set of data to the public in July 2022, numerous studies reported the existence of previously unknown extragalactic sources that had been invisible to any other telescope, including its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

The JWST identified several dozen dust-rich galaxies observing the emission of cosmic sources in different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Although the scientific community continues to debate the nature of such objects, a team of astrophysicists from the University of Padua and the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) has recently discovered an even more peculiar sample of these sources. Published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal under the title JWST unveils heavily obscured (active and passive) sources up to z~13 the scientists identified a source that appeared to be redder and darker than predicted by cosmological models simulating the formation and evolution of galaxies.

The newly identified dust-rich galaxies were given names taken from the ancient Cimbrian language of the Asiago Region, such as the "Pennar Galaxy” which is considered to be the most distant and dusty (see attached figures).