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Science And Nature

JWST has spotted a weird, distant galaxy with minimal heavy elements

Galaxies in the distant universe are anticipated to possess fewer heavy elements than nearby ones, however the James Webb Space Telescope has found a surprising one with almost none at all

Space 1 August 2022

By Leah Crane

Galaxies in space

Heavy elements are formed in the centres of stars

Lukasz Szczepanski/Alamy

There exists a strange, metal-poor galaxy lurking in the distant universe. The initial image released by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) team revealed a galaxy with far fewer heavy elements than we’d expect, which can imply that its sucking up pristine hydrogen gas from intergalactic space.

Mirko Curti at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues examined the light from three galaxies shown in JWSTs first deep-field image to gauge the abundance of elements that astronomers

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