Two of the most powerful space telescopes in the universe have teamed up to reveal a panorama of a colorful galaxy cluster some 4.3 billion light-years from Earth.image of Galaxy cluster MACS0416 It comes from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Hubble Space Telescope, and combines both visible and infrared light.
[Related: Euclid telescope spies shimmering stars and galaxies in its first look at the ‘dark’ universe.]
According to NASA, MACS0416 is a pair of colliding galaxy clusters that will eventually merge to form an even larger cluster. This includes numerous galaxies outside the cluster and several other light sources that change over time. This variation may be due to a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, where light from distant background sources is distorted and amplified.
There may be different colors in the image represent different wavelengths of light. The shortest one is blue, the middle one is green, and the longest one is red. The wavelengths range from 0.4 to 5 microns, and their variations create particularly vivid galactic landscapes.
Color also gives us clues about how far away galaxies are. The bluest galaxies tend to be relatively close together, exhibit intense star formation, and are best detected by Hubble. Red galaxies tend to be more distant and are best discovered by JWST. Some galaxies appear very red because they contain large amounts of cosmic dust that tends to absorb bluer-colored starlight.
“Until we combine Webb data with Hubble data, we won’t get the full picture,” said Roger Windhorst. stated in a statement. Windhorst is an astronomer at Arizona State University who made the JWST observations and is the principal investigator of the PEARLS program (Extragalactic Prime Region for Reionization and Lensing Science).
oh christmas tree
Although these images are visually pleasing, they are also taken for a specific scientific purpose. The team was using the data to search for objects whose brightness changes over time. transient phenomenon. All these colors shimmering in the galaxy look just like multicolored lights shining on a Christmas tree.
“We call MACS0416 the Christmas Tree Galaxy Cluster, both because it is so colorful and because of the flashing lights found within it. Transients can be seen everywhere. ,” said Haojing Yang, an astronomer at the University of Missouri-Columbia. stated in a statement. Yang is a co-author of one of his papers describing the scientific results. was announced on astrophysical journal.
The team identified 14 transients across the field of view. Twelve of the transients were located in three galaxies that were highly magnified by gravitational lensing. This means that they are likely individual stars or star systems that are greatly expanded over a short period of time. His two other transients are located within more moderately expanded background galaxies, so they may be supernovae.
Further observations by JWST may lead to the discovery of numerous additional transients and other similar galaxy clusters.
godzilla and mothra
One transient in particular stood out. The system is located in a galaxy that existed about 3 billion years after the Big Bang and has been magnified by at least 4,000 times. They nicknamed the system Mothra in honor of its “monstrous nature” of being extremely bright and large. Mothra joins another Lenticular star that researchers previously called “Godzilla.” In Japanese movies, Godzilla and Mothra are giant monsters known as “Godzilla.” monster.
In addition to the new JWST images, Mothra can also be seen in Hubble observations taken nine years ago. The researchers say this is unusual because zooming in on stars this much requires a very specific alignment between the foreground galaxy cluster and the background stars. The alignment must have been resolved by the mutual motion of the stars and star clusters.
It may grow further as more objects are added within the foreground cluster.
“The most likely explanation is a globular cluster that is too faint for Webb to see directly,” said Jose Diego, an astronomer at Spain’s Cantabria Institute. stated in a statement. “But we still don’t know the true nature of this additional lens.” Diego is also a co-author of the next book. Papers published in magazines astronomy and astrophysics This details this discovery.