James Webb telescope captures a knot of galaxies in the early universe

Source: Engadget


The James Webb Space Telescope has produced its second revelatory image in as many days. Scientists using the observatory have discovered a tightly-packed “knot” of at least three galaxies that were forming around a quasar 11.5 billion years ago, just over 2 billion years after the Big Bang. The telescope’s near-infrared spectrograph not only showed that the galaxies were orbiting each other at high speeds (up to 435 miles per second), but that this was one of the densest known areas of early galaxy formation. The density is unusually high enough that lead researcher Dominika Wylezalek suggested there may even be two “halos” of dark matter merging in this area.

The quasar itself is unusual. The not-so-elegantly named SDSS J165202.64+172852.3 is a very red example that doesn’t emit as wide a variety of light as already-rare ‘normal’ quasars. These objects serve as active galactic nuclei and are powered by the gas tumbling into a supermassive black hole at the core of their galaxies.


James Webb Telescope


The imagery also underscores the strength of the Webb telescope’s sensors. Earlier studies using the Hubble and Gemini-North telescopes spotted the quasar’s outflows but didn’t reveal more than one host galaxy.

More study is necessary to determine how galaxy clusters like this take form and are affected by supermassive black holes. However, the Webb findings already promise to improve humanity’s understanding of how the present-day web of galaxies came to be, not to mention how quasars might stifle star formation through their flows.

This is also just the start of Webb-based quasar discoveries. The team noted that Hubble data suggests there may be still more galaxies twirling around the quasar. This is also the first part of a trilogy of studies using Webb to analyze quasars at multiple points in the universe’s history. These efforts could shed considerably more light on cosmic evolution in the years ahead.

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James Webb telescope is now taking detailed photos of our own solar system’s planets and moons

The James Webb telescope of NASA has taken stunning photos of nebulae, groups of galaxies and even the “deepest” view of the universe. It has also taken photos of Jupiter to see if it can be used to observe nearby celestial objects like moons and asteroids, as well other elements like planet rings and satellites.


NASA said, “Fans of Jupiter will recognize some familiar features of our solar system’s enormous planet in these images seen through Webb’s infrared gaze. A view from the NIRCam instrument’s short-wavelength filter shows distinct bands that encircle the planet as well as the Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow the Earth. The iconic spot appears white in this image because of the way Webb’s infrared image was processed.”


Bryan Holler, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who helped plan these observations said, “Combined with the deep field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate the full grasp of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard that you can see with the naked eye from your actual backyard,”.


According to Engadget, “It’s worth noting that James Webb captured these images moving across its field of view in three separate observations, proving that it’s capable of finding and tracking stars in the vicinity of a celestial body as bright as Jupiter. That means it can be used to study moons in our solar system and could give us the first images of the plumes of material known to spew out of natural satellites like Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.” They also said, “The team also tracked asteroids in the asteroid belt to figure out the fastest objects it can observe. They found that it can still get gather data from objects moving up to 67 milliarcseconds per second across its field of view. NASA says that’s equivalent to tracking a turtle moving from a mile away. As Stefanie Milam, James Webb’s deputy project scientist, said, these images show that “everything worked brilliantly.” We can expect not just more impressively detailed images of space in the future, but also information that could shed more light on how the first galaxies had formed.”

James Webb Space Telescope Captures First Full-color Images of Space

It’s only a few days until NASA and its partners on the James Webb Space Telescope project reveal the first full-color images and spectroscopic data captured by the observatory. The agency has shed a little more light on what to expect by revealing the James Webb Space Telescope’s initial list of cosmic targets.


Captured by James Webb Space Telescope


One of them is the Carina Nebula, which is around 7,600 light-years away. NASA says it’s one of the biggest and brightest nebulae in the sky and it includes stars that are several times larger than the Sun. Another nebula the telescope captured images from is the Southern Ring. That’s roughly 2,000 light-years from Earth and is a planetary nebula — it’s an expanding cloud of gas that surrounds a dying star.


Closer to home is the gas planet WASP-96 b, which is almost 1,150 light-years away and has around half the mass of Jupiter. NASA will provide a look at the planet’s light spectrum data. Much further from here is Stephan’s Quintet, which is around 290 million light-years away in the Pegasus constellation. This is the first compact galaxy group that was discovered, all the way back in 1877. It comprises five galaxies, four of which “are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters,” NASA said.


Also on Tuesday, NASA, the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency will reveal imagery for SMACS 0723. “Massive foreground galaxy clusters magnify and distort the light of objects behind them, permitting a deep field view into both the extremely distant and intrinsically faint galaxy populations,” NASA explained.


Important Step for JWST


A committee of experts from NASA, ESA, CSA and the Space Telescope Science Institute spent five years determining the first targets for Webb’s instruments. The full-color images and spectroscopic data that James Webb Space Telescope captured will be revealed on July 12th at 10:30 AM ET. You’ll be able to view them on NASA’s website.


This marks an important step for James Webb Space Telescope as it marks the official beginning of the observatory’s general science operations. The aim is to provide us with more detailed images and information about the earliest stars and galaxies as well as potentially habitable exoplanets. After launch in December, it took several months for the James Webb Space Telescope to reach its destination and prepare for full operation. We’re very close to finding out just what the observatory is capable of.