NasaThe 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 13.5 billion years ago to an early universe with faint, distant lights from newly formed galaxies in an area known as the North Ecliptic Pole.
The strip of sky captured in the photograph is only 2% of the coverage of Earth’s full moon, but JWST can peer deep into this region and observe thousands of glittering galaxies reaching to the farthest corners of the universe. .
The cosmic objects seen in the image are a billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye, but the telescope’s near-infrared camera (NIRCam) captured the spectra of light coming from the objects in the image .
New NASA telescope image captures 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 wide-medium-deep field images of the cosmos and comes from the GTO Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (PEARLS) program.
The researchers involved in this work explain that “medium-deep” refers to the faintest objects that can be seen in this image, which are around 29th magnitude (a billion times fainter than what can be seen in the image). naked eye).
And “wide field” refers to the total area that will be covered by the program, approximately one-twelfth of the full moon area.
Rogier Windhorst, Regents Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and PEARLS Principal Investigator, said in a statement: ‘For more than two decades, I have worked with a large international team of scientists to prepare our scientific program Webb .
“Webb’s footage is truly phenomenal, truly beyond my wildest dreams. They allow me to measure the numerical density of galaxies that shine down to the very faint infrared limits and the total amount of light they produce.
The image includes eight different colors from NIRCam and three colors of ultraviolet and visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Jake Summers, research assistant at ASU, said: “The Webb images far exceed what we expected from my simulations in the months before the first scientific observations.
“Looking at them, I was very surprised by the exquisite resolution.
“There are many objects I never thought I would see, including individual globular clusters around distant elliptical galaxies, star-forming nodes in spiral galaxies, and thousands of faint galaxies in the background.”
NIRCam observations will be 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, which can be used to estimate their distances more accurately.
Rosalia O’Brien, a graduate research assistant at ASU, said: “The diffuse light I have measured in front and behind stars and galaxies has cosmological significance, encoding the history of the universe.
“I feel very lucky to start my career now. Webb’s data is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, 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 is “really out of this world”.
“To glimpse very rare galaxies at the dawn of cosmic time, we need deep imaging over a large area, which this PEARLS field provides,” he continued.
The north pole of the ecliptic is located in the constellation of Draco, one of the largest in the sky, which is in the northern celestial hemisphere.
It is one of the constellations of ancient Greece and was first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
JWST has taken other images of spiral galaxies, including one that reveals the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy which lies 489.2 million light-years from Earth.
The image also shows individual globular clusters around distant elliptical galaxies and star-forming nodes in spiral galaxies (pictured)
JWST has taken more images of spiral galaxies, including one that reveals the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy which lies 489.2 million light-years from Earth.
Much like a wagon wheel, its appearance is the result of 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 examined the cartwheel before.
But the dramatic galaxy has been shrouded in mystery – perhaps quite literally, given how much dust obscures the view.
JWST’s infrared abilities mean it can ‘see through time’ just 100-200 million years from the Big Bang, allowing it to snap photos of the very first stars to shine in the universe there. more than 13.5 billion years old.
His first images of nebulae, an exoplanet and galaxy clusters sparked huge celebrations in the scientific world on what was hailed as a “great day for humanity”.
Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the masses, ages, histories and compositions of galaxies as the telescope seeks to explore the earliest galaxies in the universe.
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James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope designed to detect light from early stars and galaxies
The James Webb Telescope has been described as a “time machine” that could help unlock the secrets of our universe.
The telescope will be used to look back at the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago, and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even moons and planets in our solar system.
The vast telescope, which has already cost more than $7bn (£5bn), is seen as the successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope
The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of around 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
It is the largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope in the world, capable of observing 100 to 200 million years after the Big Bang.
The orbiting infrared observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA likes to think of James Webb as a successor to Hubble rather than a replacement, as the two will be working in tandem for some time.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 via Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It circles the Earth at a speed of approximately 17,000 mph (27,300 km/h) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 340 miles.