A brilliant light three billion light-years from Earth has been detected by NASA’s James Webb Telescope (JWST) in what is believed to be the first $10 billion observation of the explosion of a dying star.
Formally known as a supernova, this is the ‘final storm’ that occurs when a star runs out of fuel. This causes the pressure drop, in which the cosmic object expands to at least five times the mass of our Sun – which is roughly 333,000 Earths in size – and then explodes, releasing tons of debris and particles.
The stellar explosion occurred in the galaxy, SDSS.J141930.11+5251593, where JWST blurred images showing the light of an object over a period of five days—a clue that gave rise to the supernova theory.
Additionally exciting is the fact that JWST was not designed to search for and locate new customers, said Mike Engeser of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSCI). In the shlokas Who first reported the discovery.
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Not only did James Webb discover a supernova, but astronomers are baffled by the discovery because telescopes are not built to find dying stars.
The potential supernova was captured with the NIRCam instrument which is designed to detect light from early stars and galaxies using a wide range of infrared light.
NIRCam is equipped with coronagraphs, instruments that allow astronomers to take pictures of very faint objects around a centrally bright object, such as stellar systems or, in this case, stellar explosions.
The JWST was probing a distant galaxy, so capturing the supernova was just by luck, Engeser told Inverse.
The dying star, which appears as a small bright dot in the images, was not present in 2011 photos of the Milky Way taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The team used software to analyze James Webb’s photo against the same photo taken by Hubble in 2011, from which they identified his small, bright light.
Engesser and his team used software designed to find differences in the photos that led to the bright spots.
JWST has proven it’s money well spent, even a week after it went live. Not only did it deliver its first official deep-space photos on July 12, but a week later scientists announced that it had uncovered a 13.5-billion-year-old galaxy that is now the oldest in the universe as seen by the human eye.
The galaxy, named GLASS-z13 (GN-z13), was formed exactly 300 million years after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago.
The previous record holder, discovered by the Hubble Telescope in 2015, was GN-z11 which is 400 million years after the birth of the universe.
JWST took a look at GN-z13 using its Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument, which is capable of detecting light from early stars and galaxies.
JWST has proven it’s money well spent, even a week after it went live. Not only did it deliver its first official deep-space photos on July 12, but a week later scientists announced that it had uncovered a 13.5 billion-year-old galaxy that is now the oldest in the universe observable by the human eye.
While examining the area GN-z13, JWST also observed GN-z11.
Scientists at Harvard and the Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics in Massachusetts note that although they are both older, each galaxy is much younger, New Scientist reports.
GN-z13 is about 1,600 light-years across and GLASS z-11 is 2,300 light-years away.
This is compared to our own Milky Way galaxy which is about 100,000 light years in diameter.
The paper, published in arXiv, noted that both galaxies have the mass of a billion Suns, as they formed shortly after the Big Bang.
The team suggests that this happened when the galaxies were expanding and collapsing stars in this region.
‘These two objects already hold novel constraints on galaxy evolution in the cosmic dawn era,’ the researchers share in the paper.
‘They indicate that the discovery of GNz11 was not just a matter of good luck, but that a population of UV luminous sources with very high star-formation potential is capable of consolidating.’
James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope designed to detect light from early stars and galaxies
The James Webb Telescope has been described as a ‘time machine’ that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to observe the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago, and to observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even moons and planets in our solar system. Will go
The giant telescope, which has already cost over $7 billion (£5 billion), is considered the successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of about 40 Kelvin—about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
It is the world’s largest and most powerful orbital space telescope, capable of looking back 100-200 million years after the Big Bang.
The orbiting infrared observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA prefers to think of James Webb as a successor to Hubble rather than a replacement, as the two will work together for some time.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida via spacecraft Discovery.
It orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,000mph (27,300kph) at an altitude of about 340 miles in low Earth orbit.