Red spot in James Webb image could reveal early universe chemistry

Astronomers say a tiny red spot caught in the distant background of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first “deep field” could change our understanding of the early universe.

The invisible blob is an ancient, unnamed galaxy that is 13.1 billion years old, just a few hundred million years younger than the birth of the universe. Of all the galaxies captured in the image, it is the most distant from Earth.

It was captured in the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe ever recorded and presented to the world as part of a $10 billion (£7.4 million) observatory project. first set of full color images last week.

When researchers convert the light from an individual galaxy into a spectrum, they can learn about the chemical composition, temperature, and density of the galaxy’s ionized gas.

For example, the spectrum of this galaxy will show the properties of its gas, which will indicate how its stars form and how much dust it contains.

Such information has never before been recorded from such a distance and in such quality.

Hidden secrets: A tiny red spot caught in the distant background of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first “deep field” could help reveal the chemistry of the early universe.

When researchers stretch the light from an individual galaxy into a spectrum (pictured), they can learn about the chemical composition, temperature, and density of the galaxy's ionized gas.

When researchers stretch the light from an individual galaxy into a spectrum (pictured), they can learn about the chemical composition, temperature, and density of the galaxy’s ionized gas.

Far: It was captured in the deepest and sharpest infrared image of a distant universe ever recorded (pictured) and released last week as part of Webb's first images.

Far: It was captured in the deepest and sharpest infrared image of a distant universe ever recorded (pictured) and released last week as part of Webb’s first images.

INSTRUMENTS ON THE JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE

NIRKam (near infrared camera) thermal imager from the edge of the visible to the near infrared.

NIRSpets (near infrared spectrograph) will also perform spectroscopy in the same wavelength range.

MIRI (Mid-InfraRed Instrument) will measure the mid to long infrared wavelength range from 5 to 27 micrometers.

FGS / NIRISS (fine pointing sensor, near-infrared imager and slitless spectrograph) is used to stabilize the line of sight of the observatory during scientific observations.

The spectrum itself was captured using Webb’s NIRSpec instrument, which uses tiny windows to isolate and analyze light from objects in the telescope’s field of view.

This meant that only the starlight of the ancient galaxy could pass through to reveal its chemical signatures, while other light from nearby bright objects was blocked.

Among the various elements in the galaxy was an imprint of glowing oxygen gas known as an emission line.

NIRSpec team member Andrew Bunker of the University of Oxford said experts had hoped to observe the line in distant galaxies, but expected they would have to look for “tens or hundreds” or targets before finding it.

“I don’t think we really dream of having it there in the first, essentially public, click. It’s really incredible,” he said. New scientist.

The reason the oxygen emission line is important is because astronomers use it to calibrate their measurements. galaxy compositions.

If it can then be compared to other emission lines in the light of the galaxy, then one can decipher how many chemicals are in the galaxy based on the chemical fingerprints in the spectrum.

This has been done before for nearby galaxies, but not for distant galaxies such as the red spot in the Webb deep field.

As astronomers begin to analyze the Webb data, we will learn an incredible amount about the galaxies that have existed throughout cosmic time and how they compare to the beautiful spiral and elliptical galaxies in the neighboring universe.

Additional spectra like this one will allow scientists to study how the proportion of elements heavier than helium in distant galaxies has changed over time.

“It gives you data points about this evolution,” Emma Chapman, an astrophysicist at the University of Nottingham, told New Scientist.

The spectrum itself was captured using Webb's NIRSpec instrument, which uses tiny windows to isolate and analyze light from objects in the telescope's field of view.

The spectrum itself was captured using Webb’s NIRSpec instrument, which uses tiny windows to isolate and analyze light from objects in the telescope’s field of view.

Webb’s infrared capabilities allow him to “look back” to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago. Light waves travel very fast, about 186,000 miles (300,000 km) per second every second. The farther away the object, the farther in time we look. This is due to the fact that light takes time to get from the object to us.

“So you can start thinking about how quickly the first stars died and polluted the gas. [to] create the second generation of stars that make up this galaxy.”

Last week, the world was first shown Webb’s dazzling, unprecedented images of the “stellar nursery,” a dying star shrouded in dust, and a “cosmic dance” between a group of galaxies.

It ended months of anticipation and feverish anticipation as people around the world saw the first batch of a treasure trove of images culminating in the earliest look at the dawn of the universe.

Webb’s infrared capabilities mean it can “look back” to 100 to 200 million years after the Big Bang, allowing it to capture the very first stars that shone in the universe more than 13.5 billion years ago.

His first images of nebulae, exoplanets and clusters of galaxies caused a huge celebration in the scientific world, which was hailed as “a great day for mankind.”

Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the masses, ages, history and composition of galaxies as Webb aims to explore the earliest galaxies in the universe.

JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE

The James Webb Telescope has been called a “time machine” that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.

The telescope will be used to look back at the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even our solar system’s moons and planets.

Already worth over $7 billion (£5 billion), the huge telescope is said to be the successor to the Hubble Orbiting Space Telescope.

The James Webb telescope and most of his instruments have an operating temperature of approximately 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).

This is the world’s largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope, capable of looking 100-200 million years ago after the Big Bang.

The Orbital Infrared Observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA prefers to think of James Webb as Hubble’s successor rather than his replacement, as the two will work in tandem for a while.

The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It orbits the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 km per hour) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 340 miles.