Science

NASA’s new telescope reveals particulars of the early universe

NASA’s new telescope reveals particulars of the early universe

NASA’s James Webb Area Telescope is discovering new galaxies that astronomers have by no means seen earlier than deep within the early universe.

Not too long ago, astronomers pointed JWST at an object referred to as MACS0647-JD. It is rather far-off and lightweight takes time to journey, so such a distant object can also be wanting into the previous. MACS0647-JD is about 97% of the way in which to the Large Bang within the first 400 million years of the universe.

Dan Coe, a researcher on the Area Telescope Science Institute, first found it 10 years in the past with the Hubble Area Telescope, previously NASA’s strongest area observatory.

“With Hubble it was only a pale purple dot. We might inform that it was very small, only a tiny galaxy within the first 400 million years of the universe. Now we’re Webb and we are able to separate the TWO objects,” Cove mentioned in October NASA launch.

JWST is 100 occasions extra highly effective than Hubble, and its infrared lens permits it to see a lot additional into the deep universe and distant previous. By evaluating the brand new JWST picture with earlier Hubble pictures, astronomers found new options of one of many oldest galaxies ever seen.

gif compares Hubble and JWST images of the same galaxy cluster, highlighting the new galaxies behind it

Hubble and JWST pictures of MACS0647-JD.


SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI and Tiger Hsiao (Johns Hopkins College) IMAGE PROCESSING: Alice Pagan (STScI)



Each Hubble and JWST research the early universe utilizing gravitational lensing. That is what occurs when a cluster of distant galaxies is so huge that it distorts space-time by deflecting mild from galaxies far behind. This creates mirror pictures of those galaxies that mirror again to us.

Subsequently, the imprint of the mysterious system MACS0647-JD seems in three locations within the pictures above. The breakouts of those three pictures of the JD system on the proper present how a lot sharper the JWST pictures are. They clearly present two completely different objects.

two weak points one yellow one orange in space

One of many pictures of MACS0647-JD taken by the James Webb Area Telescope.

SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Kou (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Xiao (JHU) IMAGE PROCESSING: Alice Pagan (STScI)



“We’re actively debating whether or not these are two galaxies or two star clusters inside a galaxy. We do not know, however these are the questions the Net is designed to assist us reply,” Coe mentioned.

The research has not but been revealed, however the distinction between the pictures is stark.

JWST can detect galaxy mergers and different unseen actions within the early universe

This image of the galaxy pair VV 191 includes near-infrared light from Webb, as well as ultraviolet and visible light from Hubble.

A pair of interacting galaxies imaged in near-infrared mild by Webb and in ultraviolet and visual mild by Hubble.


NASA, ESA, CSA, Roger Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (College of Alabama), Stuart White (College of Melbourne), JWST PEARLS Staff, Alice Pagan (STScI)



One of many objects is bluer, indicating that it’s forming comparatively younger stars. The opposite is redder, indicating an older object with extra interstellar mud.

“We could also be witnessing the merging of galaxies within the very early universe. If that is probably the most distant merger, I shall be very excited,” Tiger Yu-Yang Xiao, a graduate scholar who studied the pictures with Kou, mentioned in a NASA launch. .

two galaxies merge one yellow one blue and pink

Collision and merger of two galaxies taken by the Hubble Area Telescope.


NASA, ESA, STScI, Julianne Dalcanton (Middle for Computational Astrophysics/Flatiron Inst. and College of Washington); Joseph DePasquale (STScI)



JWST is prone to uncover much more distant galaxies from the very starting of the universe. It will assist scientists piece collectively a historical past that’s lacking the primary 400 million years.

“Till now, we now have not been capable of research galaxies within the early universe in nice element. Earlier than Webb, we solely had dozens of them. Learning them may help us perceive how they advanced into the galaxy we dwell in in the present day. And the way the universe has advanced all through time,” Rebecca Larson, one other graduate scholar who studied the pictures, mentioned in a NASA launch.

She pointed to all the opposite tiny dots within the new JWST picture—every one a distant galaxy.

Photo from the Webb Space Telescope

JWST picture of the MACS0647-JD system triple-lensed by the huge galaxy cluster in entrance of it.

SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Kou (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Xiao (JHU) IMAGE PROCESSING: Alice Pagan (STScI)



“It is wonderful the quantity of knowledge we’re getting that we simply could not see earlier than,” she mentioned, including, “And it isn’t a deep subject. It isn’t a protracted publicity. We have not even actually tried to make use of this telescope to look lengthy into one level. That is just the start!”



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