A team of astronomers analysed some of Webb's first images, aimed at 55 very distant galaxies, one of which appears to be at a record long distance in time and space.
An international team of astronomers analysed some of the data from the spacecraft, James Webb, collected by observing a set of galaxies with different red shifts — a red-colored shift as a result of the expansion of the universe; the higher the red shift, the closer the galaxy is to the origins of the universe; the importance of red offset of 20 or more would mean observing the origin of the first stars.
The purpose of the study was to describe the function of luminance at high red shifts between 8 and 15. The function of luminance is the tool that gives us the number of galaxies in the luminance interval. This is very important in understanding how large-scale structures have evolved over time. In fact, it helps us understand how the density of the more bright and dim galaxies changes, and how bright and dull they really are.
In the course of their research, scientists came across a galaxy that seemed to travel much longer than 13.470 billion years. After several calculations, the team concluded that the galaxy in question had a red offset of 16.7. This is an absolute and amazing record, given that the most remote galaxy discovered by Hubble had a red offset of 13.2.
Red galaxy 16.7
The galaxy discovered by the team is called CEERS93316 and should have formed 233 million years after the Big Bang. This corresponds to a red shift of 16.7.
In other words, red displacement is a measure that describes how light from an object is stretched as a result of the expansion of the universe to a more red wave length. The higher the red displacement number assigned to the galaxy, the more remote it is and the sooner it appears in space history.
It is common for a candidate found by photometric research to undergo spectroscopic research to be confirmed or rejected. The main benefits of spectroscopy are as follows:
- Its spectrologies give a clearer picture of how light originally emitted in the visible range of wave lengths stretched in the infrared range during space history; it detects the chemical composition of objects. The theory says that the very first stars only fed on hydrogen, helium, and a small amount of lithium — elements that resulted from the Big Bang. The heavier atoms that astronomers call "metals" were to be dug out in these stars and their descendants.
Usually, "red" galaxies contain older stars with higher metal content. More blue galaxies, on the contrary, contain a younger and less metal-rich star population; for example, a galaxy such as the Milky Way seems to us to be rather "blue" because of the young stars it contains.
The record red shift of 16.7, although it has not yet been confirmed, will no doubt be short-lived. Since James Webb began scientific operations at the end of June, astronomers have found increasingly remote candidates on its images. In recent days, the scientific community has been reporting data on objects with increasingly large red shifts.
For example, one of the first applicants appeared in Webb's catalogue called GLASS, which included another galaxy slightly less distant than the previous one, but on the same image. ", says Marco Castellano, an astronomer from the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome. He and his colleagues did not expect to find such distant galaxies in this small part of the sky. The discovery was also confirmed by a second team that independently identified the two galaxies.
An overview of the wide sky being performed by Webb, called Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey, has also published an image of another galaxy these days. This is another distant candidate, CEERS-J141946. Stephen Finkelstein, the research director, named it the Maisy Galaxy in honor of his daughter. This object has a red offset of 14,3 which means that it began to shine some 280 million years after the Big Bang. Not as impressive a candidate as CEERS933316, but still a wonderful prospect compared to the era before James Webb.
Another study examined the very first image of the deep field of Webba, published by President Joe Biden of the United States on July 11, and found two potential galaxies with a red offset of 16, which would have taken them to just 250 million years after the Big Bang.
Webb's already rewriting astrophysics textbooks.
Webb's goal, of course, is not just to break records. You can do very important research on galaxies and their evolution.
This data contradicts previous theories. In previous years, using the Hubble, astronomers have concluded that distant galaxies have more wrong shapes than nearby ones. The latter, like the Milky Way, often have the right shapes, such as disks. Therefore, it was thought that early galaxies were most often distorted by interaction with neighbouring galaxies. But Webb's observations suggest that remote disk galaxies are ten times larger than previously thought. Another article published in the Preprint suggests that vast galaxies were formed in the universe earlier than previously known.
Finally, studies of galactic chemistry also show a rich and complex picture from Webb's data. In the analysis of the first image of the deep field, the light emitted by red 5 or more galaxies was examined. Scientists discovered the extraordinary wealth of elements such as oxygen.
This discovery is again contrary to what we knew. In fact, based on previous observations, astronomers have determined that the process of chemical enrichment takes time, but the discovery that it takes in the first galaxies will make us rethink the speed at which star formation takes place. In short, James Webb seems willing to rewrite textbooks on astrophysics that thousands of students have been preparing for years.
The study of the first candidate galaxy on the red shift 16.7 is available.
Other studies cited can be found in Nature magazine.