NASA's Webb to uncover riches of the early universe

For decades, telescopes have helped us capture light from galaxies that formed as far back as 400 million years after the big bang—incredibly early in the context of the universe’s 13.8-billion-year history. But what were galaxies like that existed even earlier, when the universe was semi-transparent at the beginning of a period known as the Era of Reionization? NASA’s next flagship observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, is poised to add new riches to our wealth of knowledge not only by capturing images from galaxies that existed as early as the first few hundred million years after the big bang, but also by giving us detailed data known as spectra. With Webb’s observations, researchers will be able to tell us about the makeup and composition of individual galaxies in the early universe for the first time.

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