Bright light detected NASAThe James Webb Telescope (JWST), in a galaxy three billion light-years from Earth, is believed to be the first $10 billion telescope to observe the explosion of a dying star.
Formally known as a supernova, this is the “last hurray” when a star runs out of fuel. This results in a pressure drop whereby the space object expands to at least five times the mass of our Sun, roughly 333,000 Earths, and then explodes, ejecting tons of debris and particles.
The stellar explosion occurred in the galaxy SDSS.J141930.11+5251593, where JWST took pictures showing the object’s light getting dimmer over the course of five days – the clue that spawned the supernova theory.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that the JWST was not designed to search for and detect new transients, said Mike Engesser of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). In verse who first reported the find.
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Not only did James Webb spot the supernova, but astronomers are baffled by the discovery because the telescope isn’t designed to look for dying stars.
The potential supernova was captured by the NIRCam instrument, which is designed to detect the light of the earliest stars and galaxies using a wide range of infrared light.
NIRCam is equipped with coronagraphs, instruments that allow astronomers to take pictures of very faint objects around a central bright object, such as star systems or, in this case, stellar explosions.
JWST was exploring a distant galaxy, so a supernova was discovered for good luck, Engesser told Inverse.
The dying star, which appears as a small bright dot in the images, was missing from the 2011 Hubble Space Telescope images of the galaxy.
The team used James Webb’s image analysis software to compare it to the same image taken by Hubble in 2011, and that’s how they identified its small bright light.
Engesser and his team used software designed to identify differences in photographs that led to the bright spot.
JWST has proven money well spent, even a week after launch. Not only did he provide his first official deep space images on July 12, but a week later, scientists announced that he had discovered a 13.5 billion-year-old galaxy that is now the oldest in the universe visible to the human eye.
The galaxy, dubbed GLASS-z13 (GN-z13), formed just 300 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
The previous record holder, discovered by the Hubble telescope in 2015, was GN-z11, which is 400 million years old after the birth of the universe.
JWST captured a look at GN-z13 using its Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which is capable of detecting light from the earliest stars and galaxies.
JWST has proven money well spent, even a week after launch. On July 12, not only did he provide his first official deep-space images, but a week later, scientists announced the discovery of a 13.5 billion-year-old galaxy, which is by far the oldest in the universe visible to the human eye.
While exploring the area where GN-z13 are located, JWST also spotted GN-z11.
Scientists at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts note that although both are old, each of the galaxies is very small, according to New Scientist.
The diameter of GN-z13 is about 1600 light years, while GLASS z-11 is 2300 light years.
This is comparable to our own Milky Way, which is about 100,000 light-years across.
An article published in arXiv notes that both galaxies have a mass of one billion suns because they formed shortly after the Big Bang.
The team suggests this happened as galaxies grew and ate stars in the region.
“These two objects already impose new constraints on the evolution of galaxies during the epoch of cosmic dawn,” the researchers report in the paper.
“They point out that the discovery of GNz11 was not just a matter of luck, but that there is probably a population of UV sources with very high star formation efficiencies that can compile.”
James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope is designed to detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies.
The James Webb Telescope is 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 Fast 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).
It is the world’s largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope, capable of seeing 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.