Ashley Strickland, CNN
The James Webb Space Telescope gave astronomers a glimpse into the early universe in new images shared Wednesday.
Powerful space observatories can detect the faint light of incredibly distant galaxies that glow in infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye. Webb is an important tool that astronomers can use to better understand how galaxies formed and evolved in the early universe.
The telescope captured images of the galaxy cluster called MACS0647 and the distant galaxy MACS0647-JD. This galaxy cluster appears as a dazzling group of galaxies that seem to shine like precious jewels against the dark background of space.
Distant galaxies are visible due to certain observational phenomena by galaxy clusters. This phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, occurs when a foreground galaxy acts as a magnifying glass for the more distant objects behind it.
Small boxes are used to identify galaxy MACS0647-JD, and more detailed images of the galaxy line up along the right side of the image. The cluster essentially triple-lensed the galaxy, magnifying it and causing it to appear at three separate locations in the image.
Astronomer Dan Coe discovered MACS0647-JD ten years ago using the Hubble Space Telescope. His new Webb image of the galaxy revealed a surprise – two distinct features.
“For Hubble, it was just this pale red dot. In the first 400 million years of the universe, Coe, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Association of Universities for Astronomical Research, said in a NASA release: says like this.
“By looking at Webb, we were able to resolve two objects! We are actively debating whether these are two galaxies or two clumps of stars within a galaxy. I don’t know. , these questions are designed to help Webb with our answers.”
The two objects have different colors, one is more blue and the other is more red. Colors indicate different gases. Blue objects indicate young star formation, while red objects are dusty and older stars. Astronomers think his two objects in galaxy images may suggest that two galaxies merged.
“It’s very interesting to see two structures in such a small system,” Tiger Yuyang Xiao, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. I’m here. “We may have witnessed a galactic merger in the very early days of the universe. If this is the most distant merger, I would be truly ecstatic!”
The research team is writing a paper on its discovery of a potential merger, but like many of Webb’s first observations since it began scientific operations in July, the findings have yet to go through the peer-review process. No. The team also plans to investigate MACS0647-JD in more detail in January.
Each of Webb’s observations reveals an unseen side of the universe hitherto hidden because the telescope has the ability to spy faint infrared light through thick interstellar dust. Having just begun an estimated 20-year mission a month ago, we are excited about the telescope’s discovery potential.
“Until now, we haven’t been able to study the galaxies in the early universe in detail. Before Webb, there were only a few dozen,” says a National Science Foundation fellow and PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. Student Rebecca Larson said in a statement. “Studying them helps us understand how they evolved into something like the galaxy we live in today. Did you?”
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