Never-before-seen galaxies sparkle in a new image from James Webb
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured never-before-seen galaxies that appear like dazzling diamonds in the blackness of space.
The image transports viewers to an early Universe 13.5 billion years ago, with faint, distant lights emanating from newly formed galaxies in an area known as the North Pole of the Ecliptic.
The strip of sky captured in the photo measures just two percent covered by Earth’s full moon, but JWST can peer deep into this region and observe thousands of glittering galaxies stretching to the farthest corners of the universe.
The cosmic objects visible in the image are a billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye, but the telescope’s near-infrared (NIRCam) camera captured the light spectra of the objects in the image.
A new image from NASA’s telescope shows thousands of never-before-seen galaxies that formed 13.5 billion years ago – 200 million years after the Big Bang
The image is one of the first mid-depth, wide-field images of the cosmos and is from the GTO Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (PEARLS) program.
The researchers involved in this work explain that “intermediate depth” refers to the faintest objects seen in this image, which are about 29th magnitude (a billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye).
And “wide field” refers to the total area covered by the program, about one-twelfth the area of the full moon.
Rogier Windhorst, Regents Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and principal investigator of PEARLS, said in a statement: “For over two decades I have worked with a large international team of scientists in the preparation of our Webb Science program.
“Webb’s images are truly phenomenal, truly beyond my wildest dreams. They allow me to measure the number density of galaxies that glow to the very faint infrared and the total amount of light they produce.’
The image contains eight different colors from NIRCam and three colors from ultraviolet and visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Jake Summers, a research associate at ASU, said, “The Webb images far exceed what we expected from my simulations in the months before the first scientific observations.
“When I looked at it, what struck me most was the exquisite resolution.
“There are many objects I never thought we could actually see, including single globular clusters around distant elliptical galaxies, star-forming nodes within spiral galaxies, and thousands of faint galaxies in the background.”
The NIRCam observations are combined with spectra obtained with Webb’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), allowing the team to search for faint objects with spectral emission lines that can be used to more accurately estimate their distances .
Rosalia O’Brien, Research Associate at ASU, said: “The diffuse light I have measured in front of and behind stars and galaxies has cosmological significance and encodes the history of the universe.
“I feel very fortunate to start my career now. Webb’s data is unlike anything we’ve seen before and I’m really excited about the opportunities and challenges it presents.’
Anton Koekemoer, a research astronomer at STScI who assembled the PEARLS images into very large mosaics, said the image quality was “really out of this world”.
“To get a glimpse of very rare galaxies at the dawn of cosmic time, we need the deep, wide-area imaging that this PEARLS field provides,” he continued.
The north pole of the ecliptic is in the constellation Draco, one of the largest in the sky, located in the northern celestial hemisphere.
It is one of the ancient Greek constellations and was first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
JWST has captured more images of spiral galaxies, including one showing the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy, 489.2 million light-years from Earth.
The image also shows isolated globular clusters around distant elliptical galaxies and star-forming nodes within spiral galaxies (pictured).
JWST has captured more images of spiral galaxies, including one showing the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy, 489.2 million light-years from Earth
Similar to a wagon wheel, its appearance results from an extreme event – a high-speed collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.
Other telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, have previously studied the wagon wheel.
But the dramatic galaxy has been shrouded in mystery – perhaps literally given the amount of dust obscuring the view.
JWST’s infrared capabilities mean it can look back in time as far as 100 to 200 million years after the Big Bang, allowing it to take pictures of the very first stars that shone in the universe more than 13.5 billion years ago.
His first images of nebulae, an exoplanet and galaxy clusters sparked great celebrations in the scientific world on a “great day for mankind.”
Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the mass, age, history and composition of galaxies as the telescope attempts to study the earliest galaxies in the universe.
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The James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope was designed to discover light from the earliest stars and galaxies
The James Webb Telescope has been described as a “time machine” that could help unlock the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to look back to the first galaxies born in the early Universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and to observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even the moons and planets of our solar system.
The giant telescope, which has already cost more than $7 billion (£5 billion), is believed to be the successor to the Hubble orbiting space telescope
The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of about 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 degrees Celsius).
It is the largest and most powerful orbital space telescope in the world, able to look back 100 to 200 million years after the Big Bang.
The orbiting infrared observatory is said to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA considers James Webb to be Hubble’s successor rather than a replacement as the two will be working together for a while.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,000 mph (27,300 km/h) in low Earth orbit at about 340 miles altitude.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-11542703/Never-seen-galaxies-sparkle-new-image-James-Webb.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Never-before-seen galaxies sparkle in a new image from James Webb