The James Webb Space Telescope has made another amazing discovery — something that scientists said shouldn’t be there.
The telescope has found massive galaxies as big as our own Milky Way that are filled with mature red stars, Space.com reported.
The problem is, the galaxies are not supposed to be there and no one can say how they were formed.
They’re also so far away that they were part of the first data release from the Webb telescope and only looked like small red dots. It wasn’t until astronomers looked at the light from those points that they realized that the light was from when our universe was young, or about 500 to 700 years after the Big Bang, according to Space.com.
It’s not the age of the galaxies, since scientists have seen ones much older — about 300 million years after the start of the universe, The Associated Press reported. It is the fact that these six galaxies are so large and mature that has scientists scratching their heads.
“While most galaxies in this era are still small and only gradually growing larger over time,” lead researcher Ivo Labbe said in an email to the AP, “there are a few monsters that fast-track to maturity. Why this is the case or how this would work is unknown.”
Labbe, who is from Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology, and his team published their findings in the journal Nature.
The size and maturity of the newly-discovered galaxies had Labbe thinking they had made a mistake and they had to double-check their findings.
“The revelation that massive galaxy formation began extremely early in the history of the universe upends what many of us had thought was settled science,” Leja wrote. “It turns out we found something so unexpected it actually creates problems for science. It calls the whole picture of early galaxy formation into question.”
Joel Leja, from Pennsylvania State University, called them “universe breakers,” the AP reported.