Since JWST’s launch, astronomers have used it to investigate the young Universe.
With unprecedented technical capabilities, JWST has already broken Hubble’s cosmic distance record.
Numerous ultra-distant galaxies have been uncovered, revealing a rich, early Universe.
These youthful galaxies appear massive, evolved, and are rapidly forming stars.
Although data is still incoming, many question whether these galaxies conflict with our consensus cosmology.
The initial conditions of our Universe are known: imprinted in the Big Bang’s leftover glow.
The equations that govern gravitation and structure formation are also highly certain.
Therefore, we should successfully predict how massive structures can be all throughout cosmic history.
One underappreciated limitation of modern simulations, however, is resolution.
Prior simulations had difficulty reproducing massive, evolved galaxies so early.
With both greater mass resolution and spatial resolution, however, the Renaissance simulations offer a different perspective.
The unprecedented resolution highlights just how much mass the most initially overdense regions accumulate.
Rare but strongly overdense regions grow to contain the earliest, most massive galaxies of all.
Even with modest, completely realistic star-formation rates, JWST’s most distant galaxies are perfectly typical within our standard ΛCDM cosmology.
Surprises and new records still await JWST, but claims like “JWST broke cosmology” were all premature.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.