Allegedly supported by some evidence from the new James Webb space telescope physicist Eric Lerner has written an article that have garnered some attention. He writes that:

"Put another way, the galaxies that the JWST shows are just the same size as the galaxies near to us, if it is assumed that the universe is not expanding and redshift is proportional to distance."

He claims that according to an old article that he has gotten published in a serious journal, if you assume distance increases proportionally to distance, surface brightness stays essentially constant up to a redshift of z=5 and that James Webb shows that this holds up to z=12.

He also claims that according to a recent paper the galaxy "GHz2"1-3 must have a surface brightness 600 times higher than any known "close" galaxy if the model theoretical cosmologists use to predict distance from redshift is used. He concludes by stating:

"Big Bang theorists have known for years from the HST images that their assumptions necessitate the existence of these tiny, ultra-dense “Mighty Mouse” galaxies."

Now is Eric Lerner correct? Can he be refuted? Do you get a lot of strange small but luminous "might mouse galaxies" if you use the standard "distance as a function of redshift expression" that cosmologists use and do you get rid of the need for these galaxies if you assume that distance increases proportional to redshift? Is he factually correct that surface brightness stays constant up to a redshift of z=12 if you assume redshift increases in proportion to distance? Is Lerner "cherrypicking" from observations to get the result he wants?

Question: Do the results from the James Webb telescope point in the direction that redshift might increase linearly with redshifts because then you get about the same galaxy sizes and surface brightnesses as in the local universe also for highly redshifted "high Z" galaxies?

  • $\begingroup$ +1 not likely related: Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 24, 2022 at 5:40
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    $\begingroup$ Calling Lerner a "physicist" is really stretching things... $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2022 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Agerhell -- the Edward Wright reference (which is from the early 2000s) is addressing the general question of "is Lerner a serious physicist?" $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2022 at 9:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Agerhell No, the SFR for high redshift galaxies is measured directly, using the same techniques used for local galaxies (e.g, UV flux, UV and optical emission lines, mid-IR emission from hot dust), with appropriate corrections things like differences in metallicity. (Measuring SFR is somewhat easier than measuring metallicity, in fact.) $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2022 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


From a big bang theorist point of view it is assumed that the galaxies at higher redshift are indeed smaller then present day, close by, galaxies.

This is believed to be explained by a merging process where many small galaxies soon after the big bang event over time becomes fewer and fewer but larger galaxies. James Webb is likely to over time get some statistics over how common galaxy mergers are and to what extent this merging theory is correct.

Also it is from a big bang standpoint believed that galaxies at higher redshift have a higher star formation rate and therefore a higher surface brightness. Over time the spectroscopy capacities of James Webb are likely to build up some decent statistics as to whether differences in physical properties between local and high z galaxies can explain perceived differences in surface brightness.


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