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The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a unique perspective of the universe, including never-before-seen galaxies that shine like diamonds in the cosmos.
New image shared on Wednesday as part of a study published in Astronomy JournalRetrieved as part of the Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science observing program called PEARLS.
This is one of the first medium-deep-wide-field images of the universe; “medium-deep” refers to the faintest objects visible, and “wide field” refers to the region of the cosmos captured in the image.
“Webb’s stunning image quality is really out of this world,” said study co-author Anton Koekemoer, a research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who put the PEARLS images together in mosaics. “To get a glimpse of very rare galaxies at the dawn of cosmic time, we need deep imaging over the wide field provided by this PEARLS field.”
The Webb telescope focused on a part of the sky called the North Ecliptic Pole and was able to use eight different colors of near-infrared light to see celestial objects 1 billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye.
Thousands of galaxies glow from various distances, and some of the light in the image traveled about 13.5 billion years to reach us.
“I was surprised by the first PEARLS images,” study co-author Rolf Jansen, a research scientist at Arizona State University and a PEARLS co-researcher, said in a statement.
“When I chose this area near the North Ecliptic Pole, little did I know that it would offer such a treasure trove of distant galaxies and that we would gain direct clues about the processes by which galaxies came together and grew,” he said. “I can see the streams, tails, shells and halos of the stars at their foothills, the remains of their building blocks.”
The researchers combined Webb data with three colors of ultraviolet and visible light captured by the Hubble Space Telescope to create the image. Together, the wavelengths of light from both telescopes reveal the unprecedented depth and detail of many galaxies in the universe. Many of these distant galaxies have always eluded ground-based telescopes besides Hubble.
The image represents a portion of the full PEARLS area that will only be four times larger. The mosaic is even better than the scientists who ran the simulations expected in the months before Webb began making scientific observations in July.
“There are many objects I never thought we could actually see, including individual globular clusters around distant elliptical galaxies, star forming nodes in spiral galaxies, and thousands of faint background galaxies,” said study co-author Jake Summers. and a research fellow at Arizona State University, in a statement.
Other pinhole light spots in the image represent a string of stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
According to Rosalia O’Brien, a graduate research fellow at the State of Arizona, measuring scattered light in front of and behind the stars and galaxies in the image is like “coding the history of the universe” because it tells a story of cosmic evolution. Statement from the university.
The PEARLS team hopes to see more objects in this region in the future; for example, distant exploding stars of varying brightness or flashes of light around black holes.
“This unique field was designed to be observable 365 days a year with Webb, so time domain legacy, area covered, and depth reached can only get better with time,” said lead study author Rogier Windhorst, a professor of surrogacy at Arizona State University. and PEARLS principal investigator, in a statement.
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