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Starts With A Bang

Starts With A Bang podcast #100 – Galaxies in the JWST era

Since JWST first glimpsed the Universe, we’ve entered a new era in understanding the earliest objects in the Universe. What have we learned?
Image of a JWST deep field, showing a lensed cluster of galaxies containing the early black hole CEERS 1019
This image shows a portion of the CEERS survey's area, viewed with JWST and with NIRCam imagery. Within this field of view lies a galaxy with an active supermassive black hole: CEERS 1019, which weighs in at 9 million solar masses at a time from when the Universe was less than 600 million years old. It was the earliest black hole ever discovered, until that record was broken yet again in November of 2023.
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Steve Finkelstein (UT Austin), Micaela Bagley (UT Austin), Rebecca Larson (UT Austin)
Key Takeaways
  • It was only 18 months ago, in July of 2022, that the very first science results from JWST were released.
  • In the time that’s occurred since, we’ve discovered a huge number of ultra-distant, ultra-early objects in the Universe, smashing many cosmic records along the way: for most distant galaxy, cluster, and black hole, among others.
  • With the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jeyhan Kartaltepe, member of the CEERS collaboration with JWST, we dive into some of the most remarkable aspects of this scientific gold mine.

It’s hard to believe, but it was only back just a year and a half ago, in mid-2022, that we had yet to encounter the very first science images released by JWST. In the time that’s passed since, we’ve gotten a revolutionary glimpse of our Universe, replete with tremendous new discoveries: the farthest black hole, the most distant galaxy, the farthest red supergiant star, and many other cosmic record-breakers.

What is it like to be on the cutting edge of these discoveries, and what are some of the most profound ways that our prior understanding of the Universe has been challenged by these observations? I’m so pleased to welcome Dr. Jeyhan Kartaltepe to the program, who’s not only a member of the CEERS (Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science) collaboration, but who has spearheaded a number of novel discoveries that have been made with JWST.

In the quest to understand not only what our Universe is and how we fit into that cosmic story, but also the story of how the Universe evolved and grew up to be the way it is today, these are some of the most important questions, concepts, and ideas to consider. It’s our 100th episode, and I promise: it’s one you won’t want to miss!


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