April 13, 2024

James Webb Telescope Surprises: “We Just Discovered the Impossible”

space

The James Webb telescope turns cosmology on its head: massive galaxies in the early universe cannot be explained by current models.

State College – The galaxies that formed in the Universe after the Big Bang must have been small. At least that’s what astrophysics would expect. But now images from the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) from space organizations NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency appear to be turning that understanding of the universe on its head. A research team has discovered six massive galaxies in the early universe in the images.

The research group was surprised by their discovery: “These objects are much larger than expected,” Joel Lega of Penn State University at State College explains in a statement. LIGA is part of the research team that analyzed the image of the galaxy. It was specialized work for this in the journal nature published. “We expected to find only young, young galaxies at this point, but we have detected mature galaxies like ours in what was thought to be the dawn of the universe,” astrophysicist Leja said in one. communication.

The James Webb Space Telescope looks roughly at the Big Bang

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The LIGA international research team found the galaxies about 500 to 700 million years after the Big Bang – in cosmic proportions almost immediately after the Big Bang. With its infrared instruments, the James Webb Space Telescope enables researchers to detect light emanating from the oldest stars and galaxies. In this way, the researchers can look back about 13.5 billion years in the past — right up to just before the Big Bang, which according to current models happened about 13.8 billion years ago.

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The research team is still not entirely sure that they have actually discovered ancient giant galaxies, because the galaxies can only be seen as tiny red dots in JWST images. “This is the first look so far back, so it’s important that we open our minds about what we’re seeing,” Lega said. While the data indicates that they are most likely galaxies, the researcher also believes that it is possible that some of these objects could become supermassive black holes.

Six massive galaxies that existed between 500 and 700 million years after the Big Bang may upend current cosmological models.

Giant galaxies contradict cosmological models

“Independently, the amount of mass we detected means that the known mass of stars in this period of our universe is up to 100 times greater than previously thought. Even if we cut the sample in half, it’s still a pretty cool change,” explains Lega. The astrophysicist’s discovery “challenges what many of us thought was scientifically proven.” “We’ve informally referred to these things as ‘universe shatterers’ — and they’ve lived up to their name so far.”

According to the research group, galaxies are so massive that they disagree with 99 percent of all cosmic models. To explain the great mass, one would either have to rewrite cosmological models or revise the scientific understanding of how galaxies formed in the early universe. Until now, cosmology assumed that galaxies start out as small clouds of stars and dust and gradually grow larger.

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These surprises are hidden in the images from the James Webb Telescope

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The Southern Ring Nebula (NGC 3132) imaged by the James Webb Space Telescope. The spot highlighted in red on the left of the image shows a galaxy whose edge the telescope is looking at.

There must be a dying star in the center of the Southern Ring Nebula. But thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope and its unique infrared view, we now know that’s not entirely true: There are two stars at the center of the nebula. The space telescope was only able to see the second star thanks to its infrared vision.

Stefan’s Quintet consists of five galaxies. In this sharp Webb’s view of the quintet, looking at the upper galaxy, you can even see what’s going on at its center: Inside is a supermassive black hole that is swallowing matter within the galaxy. They emit huge amounts of light – their light is so bright that it outshines other features of the galaxy.

The first image will be presented from the James Webb Telescope: the so-called deep field, where hundreds or even thousands of galaxies can be seen. Thanks to the microlensing effect (the gravity of a foreground galaxy cluster magnifies background galaxies), Webb can take pictures of very old galaxies. The oldest galaxy discovered so far in the image is 13.1 billion light-years away.

The spectrum of exoplanet Wasp-69b, created using data from the James Webb Space Telescope, clearly shows the presence of water molecules in the gas planet’s atmosphere, and researchers can also read the presence of clouds from the curve.

Astronomers marvel at the tubular structures in the Carina Nebula (marked in red). What did the James Webb telescope photograph here?

In fact, the James Webb Space Telescope provides not only beautiful images from deep space, but also numerous data for research. In the case of the “Deep Field” image, for example, the first galaxies have already been evaluated. The spectrum shows the “Web” elements found in a galaxy 13.1 billion years old.

Webb also examined the supermassive black hole hiding in one of the galaxies in the Stephane’s Quintet. The graphic shows the composition of gas around the black hole.

With Webb’s help, researchers can analyze some of the oldest galaxies ever observed.

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A very deep look into the early universe reveals amazing things

“We looked at the very early universe for the first time and had no idea what we were going to find,” says Lega. “It turns out that we found something so unexpected that it’s actually a problem for science.” His colleague Ivo Lappi, lead author of the study, recalls working with the recordings: “I ran the analysis software and it spit out two numbers: the distance 13.1 billion light-years, the mass of 100 billion stars, and I almost spit out my coffee. We just discovered the impossible. Impossibly early, galaxies Impossibly huge.”

One way to tell if these are very old galaxies is to take the spectra of individual objects. This will allow researchers to determine the actual distances and also learn what the galaxies are made of. With the help of this data, scientists can also determine how massive the galaxies actually are. “The spectrum will tell us right away whether or not these things are real,” Lega explains. (unpaid bill)