March 3, 2024

Webb offers a fascinating look at cosmic incubation

The Webb Telescope is ideal for a direct look at the early universe. Now researchers have set their sights on a very special dwarf galaxy. This helps us understand how stars formed in the early universe.

Stars as they were 13 billion years ago: Webb shows it!

Even if, of course, the details are more complicated: The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the biggest camera upgrade infrared astronomy has ever gotten. Since its release, researchers have been excited by the differences in quality in its representation of the universe compared to its predecessors. The James Webb Space Telescope is now able to demonstrate this property again.

A team led by astronomer Christine McQueen of Rutgers University-New Brunswick has pointed the James Webb Space Telescope at the Wolff-Lundmark-Mellot Galaxy (WLM) to get the most accurate image yet of this isolated region of the universe. The interesting thing about this region: it is home to ancient stars that may have formed about 13 billion years ago, about 800 million years after the Big Bang.
James Webb: Wolf Lundmark Melott is in his sightsJames Webb makes everything clearer (Image: NASA, ESA, Christine McQueen/Rutgers University)

“By looking deeply and seeing very clearly, we can go back in time,” McQueen said. “We are essentially embarking on a kind of archaeological dig to find very low-mass stars that formed early in the history of the universe,” the astronomer said, according to one report. Input On the Rutgers University website.

Using Webb, researchers were able to examine parts of Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte in unprecedented detail and determine the color and brightness of thousands of individual stars. Using a high-speed computer, the team was then able to conduct a comprehensive census of the stars and determine their ages. The result: a detailed overview of the “star birth rate” throughout galactic history.

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