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James Webb Space Telescope

  • Galaxies Actively Forming in Early Universe Caught Feeding on Cold Gas

    28 MAY. 2024 · Researchers analyzing data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have pinpointed three galaxies that may be actively forming when the universe was only 400 to 600 million years old. Webb’s data shows these galaxies are surrounded by gas that the researchers suspect to be almost purely hydrogen and helium, the earliest elements to exist in the cosmos. Webb’s instruments are so sensitive that they were able to detect an unusual amount of dense gas surrounding these galaxies. This gas will likely end up fueling the formation of new stars in the galaxies. “These galaxies are like sparkling islands in a sea of otherwise neutral, opaque gas,” explained Kasper Heintz, the lead author and an assistant professor of astrophysics at the Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN) at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. “Without Webb, we would not be able to observe these very early galaxies, let alone learn so much about their formation.” “We’re moving away from a picture of galaxies as isolated ecosystems. At this stage in the history of the universe, galaxies are all intimately connected to the intergalactic medium with its filaments and structures of pristine gas,” added Simone Nielsen, a co-author and PhD student also based at DAWN. The universe was a very different place several hundred million years after the big bang during a period known as the Era of Reionization. Gas between stars and galaxies was largely opaque. Gas throughout the universe only became fully transparent around 1 billion years after the big bang. Galaxies’ stars contributed to heating and ionizing the gas around them, causing the gas to eventually become completely transparent. By matching Webb’s data to models of star formation, the researchers also found that these galaxies primarily have populations of young stars. “The fact that we are seeing large gas reservoirs also suggests that the galaxies have not had enough time to form most of their stars yet,” Watson added. This is Only the Start Webb is not only meeting the mission goals that drove its development and launch – it is exceeding them. “Images and data of these distant galaxies were impossible to obtain before Webb,” explained Gabriel Brammer, a co-author and associate professor at DAWN. “Plus, we had a good sense of what we were going to find when we first glimpsed the data – we were almost making discoveries by eye.” There remain many more questions to address. Where, specifically, is the gas? How much is located near the centers of the galaxies – or in their outskirts? Is the gas pristine or already populated by heavier elements? Significant research lies ahead. “The next step is to build large statistical samples of galaxies and quantify the prevalence and prominence of their features in detail,” Heintz said. The researchers’ findings were possible thanks to Webb’s Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey, which includes spectra of distant galaxies from the telescope’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph), and was released immediately to support discoveries like this as part of Webb’s Early Release Science (ERS) program.
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  • NASA’s Webb Maps Weather on Planet 280 Light-Years Away

    14 MAY. 2024 · An international team of researchers has successfully used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to map the weather on the hot gas-giant exoplanet WASP-43 b. Precise brightness measurements over a broad spectrum of mid-infrared light, combined with 3D climate models and previous observations from other telescopes, suggest the presence of thick, high clouds covering the nightside, clear skies on the dayside, and equatorial winds upwards of 5,000 miles per hour mixing atmospheric gases around the planet. The investigation is just the latest demonstration of the exoplanet science now possible with Webb’s extraordinary ability to measure temperature variations and detect atmospheric gases trillions of miles away. WASP-43 b is a “hot Jupiter” type of exoplanet: similar in size to Jupiter, made primarily of hydrogen and helium, and much hotter than any of the giant planets in our own solar system. Although its star is smaller and cooler than the Sun, WASP-43 b orbits at a distance of just 1.3 million miles – less than 1/25th the distance between Mercury and the Sun. With such a tight orbit, the planet is tidally locked, with one side continuously illuminated and the other in permanent darkness. Although the nightside never receives any direct radiation from the star, strong eastward winds transport heat around from the dayside. Since its discovery in 2011, WASP-43 b has been observed with numerous telescopes, including NASA’s Hubble and now-retired Spitzer space telescopes. “With Hubble, we could clearly see that there is water vapor on the dayside. Both Hubble and Spitzer suggested there might be clouds on the nightside,” explained Taylor Bell, researcher from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute and lead author of a study published today in Nature Astronomy. “But we needed more precise measurements from Webb to really begin mapping the temperature, cloud cover, winds, and more detailed atmospheric composition all the way around the planet.” Although WASP-43 b is too small, dim, and close to its star for a telescope to see directly, its short orbital period of just 19.5 hours makes it ideal for phase curve spectroscopy, a technique that involves measuring tiny changes in brightness of the star-planet system as the planet orbits the star. Since the amount of mid-infrared light given off by an object depends largely on how hot it is, the brightness data captured by Webb can then be used to calculate the planet’s temperature. The broad spectrum of mid-infrared light captured by Webb also made it possible to measure the amount of water vapor (H2O) and methane (CH4) around the planet. “Webb has given us an opportunity to figure out exactly which molecules we’re seeing and put some limits on the abundances,” said Joanna Barstow, a co-author from the Open University in the U.K. The spectra show clear signs of water vapor on the nightside as well as the dayside of the planet, providing additional information about how thick the clouds are and how high they extend in the atmosphere.   Surprisingly, the data also shows a distinct lack of methane anywhere in the atmosphere. Although the dayside is too hot for methane to exist (most of the carbon should be in the form of carbon monoxide), methane should be stable and detectable on the cooler nightside. “The fact that we don't see methane tells us that WASP-43b must have wind speeds reaching something like 5,000 miles per hour,” explained Barstow. “If winds move gas around from the dayside to the nightside and back again fast enough, there isn’t enough time for the expected chemical reactions to produce detectable amounts of methane on the nightside.” The team thinks that because of this wind-driven mixing, the atmospheric chemistry is the same all the way around the planet, which wasn’t apparent from past work with Hubble and Spitzer.
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  • Webb Probes an Extreme Starburst Galaxy

    9 ABR. 2024 · A team of astronomers has used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to survey the starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82). Located 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major, this galaxy is relatively compact in size but hosts a frenzy of star formation activity. For comparison, M82 is sprouting new stars 10 times faster than the Milky Way galaxy. Led by Alberto Bolatto at the University of Maryland, College Park, the team directed Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument toward the starburst galaxy’s center, attaining a closer look at the physical conditions that foster the formation of new stars. “M82 has garnered a variety of observations over the years because it can be considered as the prototypical starburst galaxy,” said Bolatto, lead author of the study. “Both NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have observed this target. With Webb’s size and resolution, we can look at this star-forming galaxy and see all of this beautiful, new detail.” Star formation continues to maintain a sense of mystery because it is shrouded by curtains of dust and gas, creating an obstacle in observing this process. Fortunately, Webb’s ability to peer in the infrared is an asset in navigating these murky conditions. Additionally, these NIRCam images of the very center of the starburst were obtained using an instrument mode that prevented the very bright source from overwhelming the detector. While dark brown tendrils of heavy dust are threaded throughout M82’s glowing white core even in this infrared view, Webb’s NIRCam has revealed a level of detail that has historically been obscured. Looking closer toward the center, small specks depicted in green denote concentrated areas of iron, most of which are supernova remnants. Small patches that appear red signify regions where molecular hydrogen is being lit up by a nearby young star’s radiation. “This image shows the power of Webb,” said Rebecca Levy, second author of the study at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “Every single white dot in this image is either a star or a star cluster. We can start to distinguish all of these tiny point sources, which enables us to acquire an accurate count of all the star clusters in this galaxy.” Looking at M82 in slightly longer infrared wavelengths, clumpy tendrils represented in red can be seen extending above and below the galaxy’s plane. These gaseous streamers are a galactic wind rushing out from the core of the starburst. One area of focus for this research team was understanding how this galactic wind, which is caused by the rapid rate of star formation and subsequent supernovae, is being launched and influencing its surrounding environment. By resolving a central section of M82, scientists could examine where the wind originates, and gain insight on how hot and cold components interact within the wind. Webb’s NIRCam instrument was well-suited to trace the structure of the galactic wind via emission from sooty chemical molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs can be considered as very small dust grains that survive in cooler temperatures but are destroyed in hot conditions. Much to the team’s surprise, Webb’s view of the PAH emission highlights the galactic wind’s fine structure – an aspect previously unknown. Depicted as red filaments, the emission extends away from the central region where the heart of star formation is located. Another unanticipated find was the similar structure between the PAH emission and that of hot, ionized gas. “It was unexpected to see the PAH emission resemble ionized gas,” said Bolatto. “PAHs are not supposed to live very long when exposed to such a strong radiation field, so perhaps they are being replenished all the time. It challenges our theories and shows us that further investigation is required.” Webb’s observations of M82 in near-infrared light spur further questions about star formation, some of which the team hopes to answer with additional data gathered with Webb, including that of another starburst galaxy. Two other papers from this team characterizing the stellar clusters and correlations among wind components of M82 are almost finalized. In the near future, the team will have spectroscopic observations of M82 from Webb ready for their analysis, as well as complementary large-scale images of the galaxy and wind. Spectral data will help astronomers determine accurate ages for the star clusters and provide a sense of timing for how long each phase of star formation lasts in a starburst galaxy environment. On a broader scale, inspecting the activity in galaxies like M82 can deepen astronomers’ understanding of the early universe. “Webb’s observation of M82, a target closer to us, is a reminder that the telescope excels at studying galaxies at all distances,” said Bolatto. “In addition to looking at young, high-redshift galaxies, we can look at targets closer to home to gather insight into the processes that are happening here – events that also occurred in the early universe.”
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  • Cheers! NASA’s Webb Finds Ethanol, Other Icy Ingredients for Worlds

    15 MAR. 2024 · What do margaritas, vinegar, and ant stings have in common? They contain chemical ingredients that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has identified surrounding two young protostars known as IRAS 2A and IRAS 23385. Although planets are not yet forming around those stars, these and other molecules detected there by Webb represent key ingredients for making potentially habitable worlds. An international team of astronomers used Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) to identify a variety of icy compounds made up of complex organic molecules like ethanol (alcohol) and likely acetic acid (an ingredient in vinegar). This work builds on previous Webb detections of diverse ices in a cold, dark molecular cloud. “This finding contributes to one of the long-standing questions in astrochemistry,” said team leader Will Rocha of Leiden University in the Netherlands. “What is the origin of complex organic molecules, or COMs, in space? Are they made in the gas phase or in ices? The detection of COMs in ices suggests that solid-phase chemical reactions on the surfaces of cold dust grains can build complex kinds of molecules.” As several COMs, including those detected in the solid phase in this research, were previously detected in the warm gas phase, it is now believed that they originate from the sublimation of ices. Sublimation is to change directly from a solid to a gas without becoming a liquid. Therefore, detecting COMs in ices makes astronomers hopeful about improved understanding of the origins of other, even larger molecules in space. Scientists are also keen to explore to what extent these COMs are transported to planets at much later stages of protostellar evolution. COMs in cold ices are thought to be easier to transport from molecular clouds to planet-forming disks than warm, gaseous molecules. These icy COMs can therefore be incorporated into comets and asteroids, which in turn may collide with forming planets, delivering the ingredients for life to possibly flourish. The science team also detected simpler molecules, including formic acid (which causes the burning sensation of an ant sting), methane, formaldehyde, and sulfur dioxide. Research suggests that sulfur-containing compounds like sulfur dioxide played an important role in driving metabolic reactions on the primitive Earth. Of particular interest is that one of the sources investigated, IRAS 2A, is characterized as a low-mass protostar. IRAS 2A may therefore be similar to the early stages of our own solar system. As such, the chemicals identified around this protostar may have been in the first stages of development of our solar system and later delivered to the primitive Earth. “All of these molecules can become part of comets and asteroids and eventually new planetary systems when the icy material is transported inward to the planet-forming disk as the protostellar system evolves,” said Ewine van Dishoeck of Leiden University, one of the coordinators of the science program. “We look forward to following this astrochemical trail step-by-step with more Webb data in the coming years.” These observations were made for the JOYS+ (James Webb Observations of Young ProtoStars) program. The team dedicated these results to team member Harold Linnartz, who unexpectedly passed away in December 2023, shortly after the acceptance of this paper. This research has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The James Webb Space Telescope is the world's premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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  • Neutron Star emissions found by James Webb Telescope

    28 FEB. 2024 · NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, was a core-collapse supernova, meaning the compacted remains at its core formed either a neutron star or a black hole. Evidence for such a compact object has long been sought, and while indirect evidence for the presence of a neutron star has previously been found, this is the first time that the effects of high-energy emission from the probable young neutron star have been detected. Supernovae – the explosive final death throes of some massive stars – blast out within hours, and the brightness of the explosion peaks within a few months. The remains of the exploding star will continue to evolve at a rapid rate over the following decades, offering a rare opportunity for astronomers to study a key astronomical process in real time. Supernova 1987A The supernova SN 1987A occurred 160,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was first observed on Earth in February 1987, and its brightness peaked in May of that year. It was the first supernova that could be seen with the naked eye since Kepler's Supernova was observed in 1604. About two hours prior to the first visible-light observation of SN 1987A, three observatories around the world detected a burst of neutrinos lasting only a few seconds. The two different types of observations were linked to the same supernova event, and provided important evidence to inform the theory of how core-collapse supernovae take place. This theory included the expectation that this type of supernova would form a neutron star or a black hole. Astronomers have searched for evidence for one or the other of these compact objects at the center of the expanding remnant material ever since. Indirect evidence for the presence of a neutron star at the center of the remnant has been found in the past few years, and observations of much older supernova remnants –such as the Crab Nebula – confirm that neutron stars are found in many supernova remnants. However, no direct evidence of a neutron star in the aftermath of SN 1987A (or any other such recent supernova explosion) had been observed, until now. The James Webb Space Telescope has observed the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a well-known and recently-observed supernova known as SN 1987A. At left is a NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image released in 2023. The image at top right shows light from singly ionized argon (Argon II) captured by the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS) mode of MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). The image at bottom right shows light from multiply ionized argon captured by the NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph). Both instruments show a strong signal from the center of the supernova remnant. This indicated to the science team that there is a source of high-energy radiation there, most likely a neutron star. NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, C. Fransson (Stockholm University), M. Matsuura (Cardiff University), M. J. Barlow (University College London), P. J. Kavanagh (Maynooth University), J. Larsson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology) Claes Fransson of Stockholm University, and the lead author on this study, explained: “From theoretical models of SN 1987A, the 10-second burst of neutrinos observed just before the supernova implied that a neutron star or black hole was formed in the explosion. But we have not observed any compelling signature of such a newborn object from any supernova explosion. With this observatory, we have now found direct evidence for emission triggered by the newborn compact object, most likely a neutron star.” Webb’s Observations of SN 1987A Webb began science observations in July 2022, and the Webb observations behind this work were taken on July 16, making the SN 1987A remnant one of the first objects observed by Webb. The team used the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS) mode of Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), which members of the same team helped to develop. The MRS is a type of instrument known as an Integral Field Unit (IFU). IFUs are able to image an object and take a spectrum of it at the same time. An IFU forms a spectrum at each pixel, allowing observers to see spectroscopic differences across the object. Analysis of the Doppler shift of each spectrum also permits the evaluation of the velocity at each position. Spectral analysis of the results showed a strong signal due to ionized argon from the center of the ejected material that surrounds the original site of SN 1987A. Subsequent observations using Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) IFU at shorter wavelengths found even more heavily ionized chemical elements, particularly five times ionized argon (meaning argon atoms that have lost five of their 18 electrons). Such ions require highly energetic photons to form, and those photons have to come from somewhere. “To create these ions that we observed in the ejecta, it was clear that there had to be a source of high-energy radiation in the center of the SN 1987A remnant,” Fransson said. “In the paper we discuss different possibilities, finding that only a few scenarios are likely, and all of these involve a newly born neutron star.” More observations are planned this year, with Webb and ground-based telescopes. The research team hopes ongoing study will provide more clarity about exactly what is happening in the heart of the SN 1987A remnant. These observations will hopefully stimulate the development of more detailed models, ultimately enabling astronomers to better understand not just SN 1987A, but all core-collapse supernovae. These findings were published in the journal Science. The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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  • Webb helps discovery of TOI-715 b a Super Earth

    19 FEB. 2024 · The discovery: A “super-Earth” ripe for further investigation orbits a small, reddish star that is, by astronomical standards, fairly close to us – only 137 light-years away. The same system also might harbor a second, Earth-sized planet. The bigger planet, dubbed TOI-715 b, is about one and a half times as wide as Earth, and orbits within the “conservative” habitable zone around its parent star. That’s the distance from the star that could give the planet the right temperature for liquid water to form on its surface. Several other factors would have to line up, of course, for surface water to be present, especially having a suitable atmosphere. But the conservative habitable zone – a narrower and potentially more robust definition than the broader “optimistic” habitable zone – puts it in prime position, at least by the rough measurements made so far. The smaller planet could be only slightly larger than Earth, and also might dwell just inside the conservative habitable zone. Astronomers are beginning to write a whole new chapter in our understanding of exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system. The newest spaceborne instruments, including those onboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, are designed not just to detect these distant worlds, but to reveal some of their characteristics. That includes the composition of their atmospheres, which could offer clues to the possible presence of life. The recently discovered super-Earth, TOI-715 b, might be making its appearance at just the right time. Its parent star is a red dwarf, smaller and cooler than our Sun; a number of such stars are known to host small, rocky worlds. At the moment, they’re the best bet for finding habitable planets. These planets make far closer orbits than those around stars like our Sun, but because red dwarfs are smaller and cooler, the planets can crowd closer and still be safely within the star’s habitable zone. The tighter orbits also mean those that cross the faces of their stars – that is, when viewed by our space telescopes – cross far more often. In the case of planet b, that’s once every 19 days, a “year” on this strange world. So these star-crossing (“transiting”) planets can be more easily detected and more frequently observed. That’s the case for TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), which found the new planet and has been adding to astronomers’ stockpile of habitable-zone exoplanets since its launch in 2018. Observing such transits for, say, an Earth-sized planet around a Sun-like star (and waiting for an Earth year, 365 days, to catch another transit) is beyond the capability of existing space telescopes. Planet TOI-175 b joins the list of habitable-zone planets that could be more closely scrutinized by the Webb telescope, perhaps even for signs of an atmosphere. Much will depend on the planet’s other properties, including how massive it is and whether it can be classed as a “water world” – making its atmosphere, if present, more prominent and far less difficult to detect than that of a more massive, denser and drier world, likely to hold its lower-profile atmosphere closer to the surface. If the possible second, Earth-sized planet in the system also is confirmed, it would become the smallest habitable-zone planet discovered by TESS so far. The discovery also exceeded early expectations for TESS by finding an Earth-sized world in the habitable zone. An international team of scientists led by Georgina Dransfield of the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, published a paper in January 2024 on their discovery, “A 1.55 R⊕ habitable-zone planet hosted by TOI-715, an M4 star near the ecliptic South Pole,” in the journal, “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.” An international array of facilities used to confirm the planet included Gemini-South, Las Cumbres Observatory telescopes, the ExTrA telescopes, the SPECULOOS network, and the TRAPPIST-south telescope. Make sure you subscribe to this podcast and never miss an update. Thanks for listening.
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  • James Webb Telescope Celebrates with Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars

    1 FEB. 2024 · Webb Celebrates First Year of Science With Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars
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  • James Webb goes Postal - Webb Telescope Image makes Stamp

    25 ENE. 2024 · The U.S. Postal Service has issued two new Priority Mail stamps celebrating NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most powerful, and most complex telescope ever put in space. The stamps, issued Jan. 22, feature images of the cosmos captured by Webb since it began its science mission in 2022. Webb is a mission led by NASA in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). “NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the perfect intersection of science, engineering, and art as it reveals the greatest secrets of our cosmos through the beautiful images it captures,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With these stamps, people across the country can have their own snapshot of Webb’s captivating images – and the incredible science they represent – at their fingertips, and know that they, too, are part of this ground-breaking new era in astronomy.” Orange mountain-like structures against a blue background form the Cosmic Cliffs The U.S. Postal Service issued a Priority Mail Express stamp Jan. 22, 2024, highlighting an image of the Carina Nebula from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Greg Breeding, an art director for the U.S. Postal Service, designed the stamp with an image provided by NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute. US Postal Service The first of the new stamps, a Priority Mail Express stamp, features Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image of the “Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula, located roughly 7,600 light-years away. The image shows emerging stellar nurseries and individual stars that were previously hidden from sight. This scene was one of the first full-color images revealed from Webb in July 2022, demonstrating the telescope’s ability to peer through cosmic dust and shed new light on how stars form. The other stamp, a Priority Mail stamp, features an image of the Pillars of Creation captured by Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). Webb’s look at this familiar landscape, which was first made famous by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, shows pillars flush with gas and dust, enshrouding stars that are slowly forming over many millennia. The Pillars of Creation is set within the vast Eagle Nebula, which lies 6,500 light-years away. These new stamps join a Forever stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2022, featuring an artist’s digital illustration of Webb against a background of stars. The U.S. Postal Service stamps honor Webb’s achievements as it continues its mission to explore the unknown in our universe and study every phase in cosmic history. Webb has already pulled back the curtain on some of the farthest galaxies, stars, and black holes ever observed; solved a longstanding mystery about the early universe; given us a more detailed look at the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system than ever before; and offered new views and insights into our own cosmic backyard.
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  • James Webb Telescope finds early Galaxies look like Surfboards, Pool Noodles, and Frisbee's

    17 ENE. 2024 · Researchers analyzing images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have found that galaxies in the early universe are often flat and elongated, like surfboards and pool noodles – and are rarely round, like volleyballs or frisbees. “Roughly 50 to 80% of the galaxies we studied appear to be flattened in two dimensions,” explained lead author Viraj Pandya, a NASA Hubble Fellow at Columbia University in New York. “Galaxies that look like pool noodles or surfboards seem to be very common in the early universe, which is surprising, since they are uncommon nearby.” The team focused on a vast field of near-infrared images delivered by Webb, known as the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey, plucking out galaxies that are estimated to exist when the universe was 600 million to 6 billion years old. While most distant galaxies look like surfboards and pool noodles, others are shaped like frisbees and volleyballs. The “volleyballs,” or sphere-shaped galaxies, appear the most compact type on the cosmic “ocean” and were also the least frequently identified. The frisbees were found to be as large as the surfboard- and pool noodle-shaped galaxies along the “horizon,” but become more common closer to “shore” in the nearby universe. (Compare them in this illustration.) Which category would our Milky Way galaxy fall into if we were able to wind the clock back by billions of years? “Our best guess is that it might have appeared more like a surfboard,” said co-author Haowen Zhang, a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona in Tucson. This hypothesis is based partly on new evidence from Webb – theorists have “wound back the clock” to estimate the Milky Way’s mass billions of years ago, which correlates with shape at that time. These distant galaxies are also far less massive than nearby spirals and ellipticals – they are precursors to more massive galaxies like our own. “In the early universe, galaxies had had far less time to grow,” said Kartheik Iyer, a co-author and NASA Hubble Fellow also at Columbia University. “Identifying additional categories for early galaxies is exciting – there’s a lot more to analyze now. We can now study how galaxies’ shapes relate to how they look and better project how they formed in much more detail.” Webb’s sensitivity, high-resolution images, and specialization in infrared light allowed the team to make quick work of characterizing many CEERS galaxies, and model their 3D geometries. Pandya also says their work wouldn’t be possible without the extensive research astronomers have done using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. For decades, Hubble has wowed us with images of some of the earliest galaxies, beginning with its first “deep field” in 1995 and continuing with a seminal survey known as Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey. Deep sky surveys like these led to far greater statistics, leading astronomers to create robust 3D models of distant galaxies over all of cosmic time. Today, Webb is helping to enhance these efforts, adding a bounty of distant galaxies beyond Hubble’s reach and revealing the early universe in far greater detail than previously possible. Webb’s images of the early universe have acted like an ocean swell – delivering new waves of evidence. “Hubble has long showed an excess of elongated galaxies,” explained co-author Marc Huertas-Company, a faculty research scientist at the Institute of Astrophysics on the Canary Islands. But researchers still wondered: Would additional detail show up better with sensitivity to infrared light? “Webb confirmed that Hubble didn’t miss any additional features in the galaxies they both observed. Plus, Webb showed us many more distant galaxies with similar shapes, all in great detail.” There are still gaps in our knowledge – researchers not only need an even larger sample size from Webb to further refine the properties and precise locations of distant galaxies, they will also need to spend ample time tweaking and updating their models to better reflect the precise geometries of distant galaxies. “These are early results,” said co-author Elizabeth McGrath, an associate professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “We need to delve more deeply into the data to figure out what’s going on, but we’re very excited about these early trends.” The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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  • James Webb - Planet Uranus - NASA

    22 DIC. 2023 · James Webb - Planet Uranus - NASA
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James Webb Space Telescope Podcast OutlineEpisode 1: Introduction to the James Webb Space Telescope - What is the James Webb Space Telescope? - Why is it so important? - What...

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James Webb Space Telescope Podcast OutlineEpisode 1: Introduction to the James Webb Space Telescope
  • What is the James Webb Space Telescope?
  • Why is it so important?
  • What are its goals?
  • How does it work?
  • What kind of discoveries can we expect from it?
Episode 2: The Latest News and Discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope
  • What are the latest images and data from the James Webb Space Telescope?
  • What have we learned about the universe so far?
  • What are some of the most exciting discoveries yet to come?
Episode 3: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Search for Exoplanets
  • What are exoplanets?
  • How can the James Webb Space Telescope help us find and study them?
  • What are some of the most promising exoplanet candidates?
  • Could the James Webb Space Telescope help us find evidence of life beyond Earth?
Episode 4: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Early Universe
  • What can the James Webb Space Telescope tell us about the early universe?
  • How did the first stars and galaxies form?
  • What role did dark matter and dark energy play in the evolution of the universe?
Episode 5: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Future of Astronomy
  • How will the James Webb Space Telescope change the way we study the universe?
  • What are some of the most exciting scientific questions that it could answer?
  • What can we expect from the next generation of space telescopes?
Episode 6: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Public
  • How can the public get involved with the James Webb Space Telescope?
  • Where can you find images, data, and other information about the telescope?
  • How can you talk to scientists and engineers who are working on the project?
Episode 7: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Future of Space Exploration
  • What role will the James Webb Space Telescope play in future space exploration missions?
  • How can it help us prepare for human missions to Mars and beyond?
  • What are the ethical implications of the James Webb Space Telescope and other powerful space telescopes?
Episode 8: The James Webb Space Telescope and Our Place in the Universe
  • What can the James Webb Space Telescope teach us about our place in the universe?
  • Are we alone?
  • What is our future as a spacefaring species?
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