Confirmation of the standard cosmological model from red massive galaxies ∼ 600 Myr after the Big Bang

In their recent study, Labbe ́ et al. used multi-band infrared images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to discover a population of red massive galaxies that formed approximately 600 million years after the Big Bang. The authors reported an extraordinarily large density of these galaxies, with stellar masses exceeding 1e10 solar masses, which, if confirmed, challenges the standard cosmological model as suggested by recent studies. However, this conclusion is disputed. We contend that during the early epochs of the universe the stellar mass-to-light ratio could not have reached the values reported by Labbe ́ et al. A model of galaxy formation based on standard cosmology provides support for this hypothesis, predicting the formation of massive galaxies with higher ultraviolet (UV) luminosity, which produce several hundred solar masses of stars per year and containing significant dust. These forecasts are consistent with the abundance of JWST/HST galaxies selected photometrically in the rest-frame UV wavelengths and with the properties of the recent spectroscopically-confirmed JWST/HST galaxies formed during that era. Discrepancies with Labbe ́ et al. may arise from overestimation of the stellar masses, systematic uncertainties, absence of JWST/MIRI data, heavy dust extinction affecting UV luminosities, or misidentification of faint red AGN galaxies at closer redshifts. The current JWST/HST results, combined with a realistic galaxy formation model, provide strong confirmation of the standard cosmology.

21/12/2023 - 12:30
Dr. Francisco Prada
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC, Granada , Spain