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Standard Model of Cosmology Survives JWST’s Surprising Finds - Quanta Magazine

Standard Model of Cosmology Survives JWST’s Surprising Finds - Quanta Magazine

Standard Model of Cosmology Survives JWST’s Surprising Finds - Quanta Magazine
Jan 20, 2023 1 min, 0 secs

Astronomers were astonished by the abundance hiding in the inky dark: Hubble could see thousands of galaxies at different distances and stages of development, stretching back to much earlier times than anyone expected.

Astronomers needed a more powerful telescope to see whether GN-z11 was an oddball or part of a larger population of puzzlingly early galaxies, which could help determine whether we are missing a crucial piece of the ΛCDM recipe.

The JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) team searched for galaxies whose infrared light spectrum abruptly cuts off at a critical wavelength known as the Lyman break.

As astronomers and the public gaped at JWST images, researchers started working behind the scenes to determine whether the galaxies blinking into our view really upend ΛCDM or just help nail down the numbers we should plug into its equations.

But Megan Donahue, an astrophysicist at Michigan State University, says that at best, the relationship between mass and brightness is an educated guess, based on assumptions gleaned from known stars and well-studied galaxies.

Freedman, who is studying the initial mass function, was up at 1 a.m. one night downloading JWST data on variable stars that she uses as “standard candles” for measuring distances and ages.

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