The James Webb Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to see things they can’t explain.
At least not yet.
In new condition Research(opens in a new tab) From Webb — the most powerful space observatory ever built — astronomers spent 50 hours peering into the deepest cosmos and spotted some of the first galaxies to form well over 13 billion years ago. Capturing such a rich cosmic vistas using the faintest objects mankind has ever seen is an amazing feat. But the data also show that these primordial galaxies emitted a phenomenal amount of energy into space — 10 times more than scientists have predicted.
The “key question” is How These nascent galaxies have achieved this, said Pablo G. Pérez-González, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrobiology in Spain, in a statement. Strange Black Holes? living stars? Pérez-González is an author of the study published in the journal The astrophysical diary letters.
The Webb Telescope just spotted something unprecedented in the Orion Nebula
The Webb Telescope is an extremely sensitive instrument with the ability to capture some of the most distant rays of light in space. That’s because Webb sees a type of light we can’t see, called infrared, which travels at longer wavelengths than visible light. Crucially, the ancient light is stretched as the universe expands, meaning it has changed and “redshifted.”
So the mighty Webb can see the energy generated by early galaxies. The astronomers identified 44 galaxies that probably formed in the first 500 million years of the universe. Originally, this energy was emitted in the form of ultraviolet light, but it has been extended to include infrared light as well.
In the image below released by the researchers, you can see:
Left: A deep-field view of the cosmos, with vibrant spiral galaxies in the foreground and a multitude of much older galaxies in the distance. Almost all of these objects are galaxies.
Right: Magnified views of three of the hard redshift galaxies releasing unexpected amounts of energy. “They would have formed in the first 200 to 500 million years after the Big Bang, when the age of the universe was 1-5 percent of what it is today [age]”, according to a statement on the research.
Ancient galaxies imaged by the James Webb Space Telescope’s MIRI Deep Imaging Survey.
Credit: Pierluigi Rinaldi / Rafael Navarro-Carrera / Pablo G. Pérez-González
The electromagnetic spectrum shows all wavelengths of light, such as visible light, infrared, ultraviolet and beyond.
Photo credit: NASA
Astronomers have used advanced computers to simulate how the universe evolved over billions of years, from the formation of the first stars and galaxies to the creation of the essential organic materials for life. But no simulations have predicted such extreme emissions of ultraviolet energy. What could it explain?
They could be young, vibrant stars that are much hotter than our mid-size Sun, and dumping large amounts of energy into space. Or, It’s possible that this ancient light was produced by supermassive black holes, which are objects hundreds of thousands to billions of times the mass of the Sun that are typically found at the center of galaxies like our Milky Way.
But that begs another question: “Where might these supermassive black holes come from?” Pérez-González asked.
“Right now, JWST is giving us many more questions than answers, but these new research directions are exciting.”
He wonders how such huge objects – with gravity so strong that not even light can escape – formed so quickly and so early in the history of the universe. Most black holes form from exploding stars, but maybe these black holes formed in a different way? There are many questions.
“Right now, JWST is giving us many more questions than answers, but these new research directions are exciting,” the researchers said.
Stay tuned for more Webb answers – and questions.
An artist’s illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope orbiting the Sun 1 million miles from Earth.
Photo credit: NASA
The powerful capabilities of the Webb telescope
The Webb Telescope – a scientific collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency – is designed to look into the deepest cosmos and provide unprecedented insights into the early Universe. But it’s also a look at fascinating planets in our galaxy and even the planets of our solar system.
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Here’s how Webb is accomplishing unprecedented things and likely will continue to do so for decades to come:
giant mirror: Webb’s mirror, which captures light, is over 21 feet in diameter. That’s more than two and a half times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope’s mirror. By catching more light, Webb can see more distant, ancient objects. As described above, the telescope is looking at stars and galaxies that formed over 13 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.
“We’re going to see the very first stars and galaxies ever to form,” Jean Creighton, astronomer and director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told Mashable in 2021.
Infrared view: Unlike Hubble, which mostly observes light that we can see, Webb is primarily an infrared telescope, meaning it looks at light in the infrared spectrum. This allows us to see much more of the universe. Infrared has longer wavelengths(opens in a new tab) as visible light, allowing the light waves to glide through cosmic clouds more efficiently; The light does not collide with these densely packed particles as often and is scattered by them. Ultimately, Webb’s infrared vision can penetrate places Hubble can’t.
“It lifts the veil,” Creighton said.
View of distant exoplanets: The Webb Telescope has special devices called spectrometers(opens in a new tab) This will revolutionize our understanding of these distant worlds. The instruments can decipher which molecules (such as water, carbon dioxide and methane) exist in the atmosphere of distant exoplanets – be they gas giants or smaller rocky worlds. Webb will study exoplanets in the Milky Way. Who knows what we’ll find.
“We may learn things we never thought about,” says Mercedes López-Morales, exoplanet researcher and astrophysicist Center for Astrophysics – Harvard & Smithsonian(opens in a new tab)said Mashable in 2021.
Astronomers have already successfully discovered intriguing chemical reactions on a planet 700 light-years away, and the observatory has begun studying one of the most anticipated places in the cosmos: the rocky, Earth-sized planets of the TRAPPIST solar system.