The Webb Telescope Just Seen More Galaxies In A Snapshot Than Hubble’s Deepest Look

A project to map the oldest structures in the universe has found 15,000 more galaxies in its first snapshot than were captured in a full deep-field survey conducted 20 years ago.

The James Webb Space Telescope, the preeminent new observatory in the sky, saw about 25,000 galaxies in that single image, dramatically exceeding the nearly 10,000 shown in the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field Survey.(Opens in a new tab). The scientists say that small slice of the space pie represents only four percent of the data they will discover from the new Webb survey by the time it is completed next year.

“When completed, this deep field will be staggeringly large and overwhelmingly beautiful,” Caitlin Casey, an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin who co-lead the research, said in a statement.(Opens in a new tab).


The Webb Telescope Just Taken The Deepest Photo Of The Universe Ever Seen

Before Webb went online in July 2022, scientists at NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency promised the telescope would go farther into space than humans had ever seen before. In astronomy, looking farther translates to looking into the past because light and other forms of radiation take longer to reach us.

A deep-field image is much like drilling deep into Earth to sample the core: It’s a close but distant view of the cosmos, revealing layers of history as you traverse billions of light-years. In the Hubble Deep Field, the oldest visible galaxies date to the first 800 million years after the Big Bang. That is an incredibly early period relative to the estimated age of the universe of 13.8 billion aB years.

“When it’s finished, this profound field will be staggeringly large and overwhelmingly beautiful.”

Astronomers begin to map the first structures in the universe with the James Webb Space Telescope.
Credit: COSMOS-Web / Kartaltepe, Casey, Franco, Larson, et al. / RIT / UT Austin / CANDIDO

But Webb was built to see an even earlier period, using a much larger primary mirror than Hubble’s (21 feet in diameter vs. just under eight feet) and detecting invisible light at infrared wavelengths. In short, a lot of dust and gas in space obscures the view of extremely distant and inherently dim light sources, but infrared waves can penetrate through clouds. A Webb scientist said the telescope is so sensitive it could detect the heat of a bumblebee on the moon.

“The initial goal of this mission was to see the first stars and galaxies,” Eric Smith, Webb’s program scientist, said last year, “not the first light in the universe, but to see the universe turn on the lights for the first time.” . “

Researchers involved in the new survey, called COSMOS-Web, published mosaic images taken in January by Webb’s near-infrared camera and mid-infrared instrument. A document providing the scope and outlook for the project is available on the ArXiv preprint server now and will be published.(Opens in a new tab) in The Astrophysical Journal.

the deep field galaxies of the Webb telescope

Four different types of galaxies observed through the COSMOS-Web deep field survey.
Credit: COSMOS-Web / Kartaltepe, Casey, Franco, Larson, et al. / RIT / UT Austin / CANDIDO

Comparing the Webb Deep Field with the Hubble Deep Field

The COSMOS-Web survey will map 0.6 square degrees of the sky, roughly the area of ​​three full moons.
Credit: Jeyhan Kartaltepe (RIT) / Caitlin Casey (UT Austin) / Anton Koekemoer (STScI) / Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

They want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? enroll in Mashable Featured Newsletter today.

The first images from COSMOS-Web(Opens in a new tab), the largest program of Webb’s first year, displays a rich variety of structures, replete with spiral galaxies, gravitational lensing, and galaxy mergers. Additionally, hundreds of galaxies that were previously identified by Hubble are being reclassified.(Opens in a new tab) with different characteristics after being shown in more detail with Webb.

Scientists say the purpose of the probe is to learn more about the so-called Reionization Era.(Opens in a new tab), which occurred between 200,000 and 1,000 million years after the Big Bang. They will also seek to identify massive galaxies from the first 2 billion years and study how dark matter, invisible space material suspected to exist throughout the universe, has evolved.

Over 255 hours of observing, the COSMOS-Web team wants to map 0.6 square degrees of the sky with NIRCam, about the size of three full moons, and 0.2 square degrees with MIRI. About 100 astronomers from around the world are involved.

So far, the sharpness and clarity of the data is even better than expected, Jeyhan Kartaltepe, an astrophysicist at the Rochester Institute of Technology who co-leads the project, said in a statement.(Opens in a new tab).

“This is just a drop in the ocean of what’s to come,” he said.

Source link

James D. Brown
James D. Brown
Articles: 8620