JWST captures galaxies from 11 billion years ago



The James Webb Space Telescope has received even more breathtaking images from space, this time from the distant past. The brand-new spacecraft’s images show distant galaxies with structures resembling our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

The spiral galaxy with elongated stellar bars is depicted in the photographs taken by James Webb when the galaxy was only 25% of its current age. Around 11 billion years ago, star structures began to extend from the center of galaxies to their outer disks.

“When I looked at this data, I thought, ‘We’re dropping everything else!'” A press release stated that Shardha Jogi, an astronomy professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Stripes barely visible in the Hubble data just appeared in the JWST image, demonstrating the tremendous ability of the JWST to see basic structure in galaxies,” according to the report.

Montage of JWST images showing six example barred galaxies, two of which represent the highest lookback times quantitatively identified and characterized to date. The labels in the top left of each figure show the lookback time of each galaxy, ranging from 8.4 to 11 billion years ago (Gyr), when the universe was a mere 40% to 20% of its present age. (Image credit: NASA/CEERS/University of Texas at Austin)

As we learn more about spiral galaxies and the reasons for their similarity to the Milky Way, our understanding of how they develop and change may shift.

Previous images of distant galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope only revealed a hazy disk-shaped patch due to the dim glow of young stars and the obscuring dust. James Webb’s re-capture of these photographs yielded more details than before.

The enormous mirror on James Webb makes the light collection more effective. He can see through the dust with greater precision and identify the underlying structure thanks to the longer infrared wavelengths.

According to Yuchen “Kei” Guo, a graduate student who led the data analysis, in Study Finds, “for this study, we are looking at a new mode in which no one has used this kind of data or done this kind of quantitative analysis before.” speaking.

Therefore, nothing is old. It’s like entering a forest that no one has ever been to before.”

The galaxy with the designation EGS-23205 appears to be a spiral with a prominent star streak. Astronomers say that another barred galaxy, EGS-2468, could have formed 11 billion years ago. Four more barred galaxies older than eight million years have been discovered by the telescope.

Because they direct gas into a galaxy’s core, galactic bars are essential to its evolution. The gas, in turn, aids in the formation of stars.

Jogi stated, “Bars solve the problem of the supply chain in the galaxies.”

Similar to how we have to deliver raw materials from the harbor to the inland factories making new products, the bar moves gas into the galaxy’s center at a speed typically 10 to 100 times faster than the rest of the galaxy.

The bars may also play a role in the formation of supermassive black holes in the galaxy’s core by channeling the gas.

Astronomers’ understanding of galaxy formation is being challenged by the discovery that spiral bars may be the mechanism that accelerates the formation of new stars in the early epochs. Because they add yet another variable to the physics of the galaxy, these early bands also go against the current understanding of the universe.

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