Extraordinary! James Webb Space Telescope snaps explosive star birth after the Big Bang | Tech News

Extraordinary! James Webb Space Telescope snaps explosive star birth after the Big Bang

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's powerful space observatory, has provided an image of a remarkable star-forming galaxy soon after the Big Bang.

| Updated on: May 16 2023, 13:36 IST
James Webb Space Telescope captures STUNNING Cartwheel Galaxy: NASA
James Webb Telescope
1/5 The stunning image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope was released by NASA on August 3. The image showed the Cartwheel Galaxy spinning ring of colour in never-before-seen clarity. (NASA)
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2/5 The image was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and MIRI instrument. It showed individual stars within the star-forming regions in the outer ring of the Cartwheel galaxy. It also shows clusters of very young stars around the galaxy's central supermassive black hole shrouded in dust. (NASA)
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3/5 The Cartwheel galaxy is located in the constellation Sculptor, around 500 million light years away from Earth. According to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the galaxy’s shape was developed because of a head-on collision between 2 galaxies which created 2 rings from the galaxy’s center like "like ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed into it.” (AFP)
James Webb Telescope
4/5 The stunning image captured by telescope showed areas rich in hydrocarbons and silicate dust, connecting the inner and outer ring of the galaxy. The Hubble Telescope had also earlier captured the Cartwheel, but it was a mystery due to the amount of dust that hinders the view. The new $10 billion telescope makes these features much easier to distinguish and study. (ESA/Hubble)
James Webb Telescope
5/5 However, the galaxy is still in transformation from the collision between the 2 galaxies. Therefore, the observations will change with time and it will be interesting to see what happens next. (NASA)
James Webb Telescope
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GN20 is one of the earliest-known galaxies in the universe that formed soon after the Big Bang. (NASA)

The James Webb Space Telescope, often hailed as a time machine, continues to astound scientists and attract the public with its remarkable discoveries. Recently, astronomers utilised this telescope's cutting-edge technology to observe a distant star-forming galaxy, delving into its intricate structure with unprecedented detail.

Discovery of the Galaxy

Harnessing the capabilities of NASA's billion-dollar observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope's Orbiter Spacecraft has unveiled the stellar composition of GN20, one of the earliest-known galaxies in the universe. Situated a staggering 12 billion light years away, this captivating discovery represents a luminous and dust-laden star-forming galaxy of extraordinary brilliance.

Significance of the Galaxy

What makes GN20 particularly intriguing is its relatively recent formation, occurring a mere 1.5 billion years after the cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang. Positioned within a region of space referred to as a protocluster or galaxy overdensity, this area holds astronomers' fascination due to its eventual culmination in the formation of colossal galactic clusters.

Insights into the Galaxy's Structure

The captivating image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope allows us to peer back in time when the universe was a mere 1.5 billion years old, as it stands at approximately 13.5 million years presently. Astonishingly, this ancient galaxy boasts a star formation rate approximately 1,860 times greater than the mass of our Sun each year. Astronomers, under the guidance of Luis Colina from the Spanish Astrobiology Centre, employed the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to examine GN20's structural properties during November 23-24, 2022.

Findings of the Study

Analysis of the MIRI images unveiled a clumpy molecular gas surrounding the galaxy, forming a colossal disk spanning about 46,000 light-years in diameter. Furthermore, the measurements indicated that the galaxy comprises a diffuse gas envelope encompassing a densely packed nucleus of shimmering stars. Remarkably, the nucleus spans a mere 2,600 light-years across, while the gaseous envelope extends approximately 23,000 light-years.

About the James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope stands as NASA's most prominent and powerful space science observatory. Boasting a large infrared telescope with a primary mirror of around 6.5 metres, this state-of-the-art instrument represents a monumental leap forward in our quest to understand the cosmos. It has been positioned a million miles out into space. It orbits the Sun and not the Earth.

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First Published Date: 16 May, 13:35 IST