Watch: 3D visualization of 5,000 distant galaxies captured by JWST

The epic visualization takes viewers back in time to just after the Big Bang.
Mrigakshi Dixit
3D visualization portrays about 5,000 galaxies.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a powerful space observatory, has unveiled a stunning 3D depiction of 5,000 galaxies that provides a view into the vast cosmic expanse. 

The epic visualization takes viewers back in time to just after the Big Bang.

This scientific visualization of galaxies was generated as part of the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) survey. 

Captured in unprecedented details 

The initial CEERS data release depicts Webb's exploration of the region known as the Extended Groth Strip. 

This stip lies between the constellations Ursa Major and Boötes. Although this area contains up to 100,000 galaxies, the visualization captures only 5,000 of them. 

The stunning visualization sweeps across thousands of distant galaxies in the cosmos, showing several that were previously unseen by Webb. 

“This observation exceeded our expectations. The sheer number of galaxies that we’re finding in the early universe is at the upper end of all predictions,” said Steven Finkelstein of the University of Texas at Austin, principal investigator of the CEERS program, in an official release. 

The visualization builds on the images acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope of this region between 2004 and 2005.

Observation of the most distant galaxy

It begins with the nearest galaxies, those within a few billion light-years from Earth, then progresses to galaxies further out. 

As the visualization progresses, it showcases different phases of the universe's history and evolution.

Remarkably, the visualization depicts one of the farthest galaxies – Maisie’s Galaxy. This galaxy came into existence about 390 million years after the Big Bang and resides 13.4 billion light-years away from Earth. 

This galaxy holds great importance as it is one of the most distant galaxies discovered by the Webb.  

Observing these galaxies was previously beyond reach for humans, but Webb's exceptional sensitivity has allowed scientists to study them like never before.

“This observatory just opens up this entire period of time for us to study,” said Rebecca Larson of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, one of the survey’s investigators. 

“We couldn’t study galaxies like Maisie’s before because we couldn’t see them. Now, not only are we able to find them in our images, we’re able to find out what they’re made of and if they differ from the galaxies that we see close by,” Larson added. 

With these findings, researchers aim to understand more about the birth of stars in these early galaxies.