NASA’s James Webb Telescope captures an extreme view of galactic merging

Now that we have a powerful lens aimed at the deepest regions of the universe, our definition of “surprise” has changed quite a bit when it comes to astronomy images.

It’s really no longer surprising when NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope It reveals something else A wonderful ancient piece of the universe. At this point, we know we expect nothing less than Pioneering machine.

Instead, whenever the telescope sends a jaw space image, it now evokes more of a sense of “JWST strikes again”. However, our jaws legitimately fall out every time.

This kind of dissonant version of “surprise” happened again – to a very severe degree. Last week, scientists presented JWST’s fascinating view of a merging group of galaxies around a supermassive black hole Contains a rare quasar – aka Inexplicably bright jet of light spewing out From the middle of the chaotic void.

There is a lot going on here, I know. But the team behind the discovery thinks it could escalate further.

“We think something exciting is about to happen in these systems,” Andre Weiner, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of a study about the landscape soon to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, He said in a statement. For now, you can check a detailed outline of the discovery in a sheet Posted in arXiv.


Artist’s concept of a galaxy with a bright quasar star at its center.

NASA and European Space Agency J. Olmsted (STScI)

Particularly interesting in this image is that the quasar at hand is considered a “very red” quasar, which means that it is very far from us, and therefore is actually rooted in a primitive region of space located near the beginning of time.

In essence, it takes time For light to travel through space, every stream of cosmic light that reaches our eyes and machines is seen as it was long ago. Even the moonlight takes about 1.3 seconds To reach Earth, so when we look at the moon, we see it past 1.3 seconds.

More specifically with this quasar, scientists believe that it took about 11.5 billion years for the body’s light to reach Earth, which means we see it as it was 11.5 billion years ago. This also makes it, according to the team, one of the most powerful devices of its kind to be observed from such a huge distance (i.e. 11.5 billion light-years away).

“A galaxy at this perfect moment in its life, is about to transform and look completely different in a few billion years,” Weiner said of the world where the quasar is anchored.

Galactic Rarity Analysis

In the color image provided by Weiner and his fellow researchers, we’re looking at several things.

Each color in this image represents a substance moving at a different speed.

ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, D. Wylezalek, A. Vayner, Q3D Team, N. Zakamska

On the left is a file Hubble Space Telescope A view of the area the team studied, and in the center an explosive version of the spot the JWST focused on. Take a quick look at the far right of this image, where four individually color-coded boxes appear and you’ll be analyzing different aspects of the JWST data broken down by velocity.

Red things are moving away from us and blue towards us, for example.

This classification shows us how each of the galaxies involved in the amazing merger behaves — including the one that holds the extreme black hole and the accompanying red quasar, in fact the only billion-dollar discovery the team expected from NASA. a tool.

“What you see here is only a small subset of what is in the data set,” Nadia Zakamska, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “There’s a lot going on here, so first we’ve highlighted the really biggest surprise. Every point here is a small galaxy merging into this parent galaxy and colors at different speeds and everything is moving in a very complex way.”

Now, says Zakamska, the team will begin to decipher the movements and enhance our view to a greater extent. However, we’re already looking at much more incredible information than the team initially expected. Hubble and the Gemini-North telescope previously showed the possibility of a galaxy teleport but certainly did not hint at the swarm we can see using JWST Awesome infrared equipment.

Towards the center, a little to the southwest, is a glowing circle depicting Neptune.  Glowing faint rings were also seen surrounding the globe.  Northwest of this globe is a bright, six-pronged bluish piece of land representing one of Neptune's moons.  Tons of spots and SWI

In another stunning image captured by the near-infrared webcam (NIRCam), a small group of hundreds of background galaxies, varying in size and shape, appear alongside the Neptune system.


“In the previous images, we thought we’d seen hints that the galaxy might be interacting with other galaxies on the merging path because their shapes deform in the process,” Zakamska said. “But after we got the web data, I was like, ‘I have no idea what we’re even looking at here, what are all these things!’ “We spent several weeks just staring and staring at these pictures.”

Soon, it became clear that JWST was showing us at least three separate galaxies moving at dizzying speed, the team said. They even think this could represent one of the densest galactic-forming regions in the early universe.


An artistic impression of the P172+18 quasar associated with a black hole 300 times the mass of the Sun.

ESO/m. Cornmeiser

Everything about this complex image is enchanting. We have the black hole, which Zakamska calls a “monster,” an extremely rare stream of light being spit out from that black hole and a group of galaxies on a collision course – all seen as it were. Billions of years in the past.

So, dare I say it? JWST hits again, presenting us with a very precious cosmic vignette. Cue, jaw dropping.

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