NASA’s James Webb Telescope Reveals Millions of Galaxies

NASA’s James Webb Telescope Reveals Millions of Galaxies


SMACS 0723: Red arcs in the image trace the light from galaxies from the very beginning of the Universe

There were 10 times more galaxies like our own Milky Way in the early Universe than previously thought.

This cosmic vision comes from one of the first studies of images captured by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope.

One of its authors, Professor Christopher Conselice of the University of Manchester, UK, said Webb could “zoom in on the early Universe”.

This yielded information about objects in space that “we knew existed but did not understand how and when they formed”.

Disc galaxies dominate the “galaxy population” today,” the researcher explained.

“Our own galaxy is a disk, Andromeda (our nearest neighbour, which is 2.5 million light-years from Earth) is a disk.

“Three-quarters of nearby galaxies are disks, but they were thought to have formed late in the evolution of the Universe,” he told BBC News.

That was before the James Webb Space Telescope gave astronomers such a distant view in time.

The study, which was posted to a preprint server, meaning it has not yet been reviewed by other scientists in the field, used the first image released by the telescope.

This image shows a cluster of galaxies in the foreground called SMACS 0723. The gravity of this large mass of objects amplified the light from the galaxies in the background, in the distant Universe, making them visible for the first time. Some of these galaxies existed barely 600 million years after the Big Bang.

Carina Nebula

Webb takes amazing photos: ‘It might be the most important telescope ever’

Webb, with his 6.5m wide golden mirror and super-sensitive infrared instruments, is able to solve their shapes and count them.

“We knew we would see things that Hubble didn’t. But in this case we see things differently,” said Professor Conselice, who will present some of his findings on Saturday July 23 at the Bluedot Festival in Jodrell Bank. in Cheshire. .

The Universe is about 13.8 billion years old, so the images captured by the JWST are glimpses of the processes that formed stars and planets long before ours existed.

“These are the processes we need to understand if we want to understand our origins,” said Professor Conselice.

“It may be the most important telescope of all time,” he added. “At least since Galileo.

James Webb is a joint effort between the American, European and Canadian space agencies, with NASA in the lead.

James Webb

James Webb

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