New images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveal that an early galaxy known to have a companion overshadowed its star formation.
JWSTThe initial target was SPT0418-47, one of the brightest and star-forming targets around. galaxies In the beginnings of the universe. Because it’s a very distant galaxy — located about 12 billion light-years from Earth — its light is bent and amplified by the gravity of another galaxy in the foreground (between SPT0418-47 and the space telescope), creating a near-perfect circle called Einstein’s ring.
Using the JWST, astronomers were able to get a clearer view of SPT0418-47 and spotted an intriguing point of light shining near the outer edge of the galaxy. As it turns out, the blob represents a companion galaxy that had previously been overshadowed by the light of the foreground galaxy, according to a permit (Opens in a new tab) from Cornell University.
Related: 12 amazing discoveries made by the James Webb Space Telescope
“We found that this galaxy is chemically abundant, which is something none of us expected,” Pu Bing, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in astronomy at Cornell University, said in the release. “JWST changes the way we look at this system and opens new avenues for studying how stars and galaxies formed in the early universe.”
Previous observations of SPT0418-47 using Atacama Large Millimeter/Meter Array (ALMA) in Chile it contained hints of a mate, which at the time was interpreted as random noises, the researchers said.
Using the JWST, the researcher discovered that the companion galaxy, named SPT0418-SE, is located about 16,000 light-years away from SPT0418-47. In comparison, the Magellanic clouds – a pair of companions of the dwarf galaxy milky way – It is located about 160,000 light-years away from us.
The close proximity of SPT0418-47 and SPT0418-SE indicates that these galaxies are associated with interaction or merge with each other Recently. In turn, this galaxy pair could shed light on how early galaxies evolved into larger galaxies, given that SPT0418-47 is believed to have formed when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old, according to the statement.
Interestingly, SPT0418-SE is already thought to have hosted multiple generations of stars, despite its young age. Both galaxies have mature metallicity – or large amounts of elements such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen heavier than hydrogen and helium – that are similar to sun. However, the researchers said that our sun is 4.5 billion years old and inherited most of its minerals from previous generations of stars that were eight billion years old.
“We’re seeing leftovers of at least two generations of people stars “He lived and died within the first billion years of the universe’s existence, which is not what we normally see,” study co-author Amit Vishwas, a research associate at the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences, said in the same statement.
“We believe that the star formation process in these galaxies must have been very efficient and started very early in the universe, particularly to explain the abundance of nitrogen measured relative to oxygen, as this ratio is a reliable measure of the number of star generations,” Vishwas said.
The new results were Posted on February 17th (Opens in a new tab) In Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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