(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the University of Groningen (Netherlands) have analyzed the first image of distant regions of the universe, made using the James Webb Telescope (JWST).
For the first time, they discovered sources of infrared radiation with a wavelength of 7.7 micrometers, which turned out to be galaxies at a distance of more than four billion years from Earth. The astronomers’ findings are presented in a preprint available from the arXiv repository.
The researchers presented the results of the first-of-its-kind observation of infrared sources with a wavelength of 7.7 micrometers.
These objects are located in the direction of the galaxy cluster SMACS J0723.3-7327, which is 5.12 billion light-years away and is subject to gravitational lensing, an effect where the image of an object is distorted due to the influence of the gravitational field of a massive body.
The study of the spectral distribution of the radiation energy of the sources made it possible to determine the distance to them and their physical parameters.
It turned out that for the most part they are typical galaxies with redshifts up to z = 4, but two percent are represented by galaxies with extreme redshifts z = 9-10. This corresponds to comoving distances of 23 billion light years and 30-31 billion light years.
Analysis of the very first image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope shows that the infrared telescope is able to reveal details of galaxies from a time when the universe was only about one billion years old.
An analysis of the very first image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope shows that the infrared telescope is able to reveal details of galaxies from a time when the universe was only about one billion years old. Photo: E. Iani & K. Caputi / JWST
The stellar masses of galaxies are estimated to range from tens of millions to hundreds of billions of solar masses. Most galaxies are blue and very few are red, which in some cases, but not always, is due to the presence of a large amount of dust that absorbs and scatters light.
The cluster SMACS J0723.3 was the target of the first Webb deep field image, which was released on July 11, 2022.
The light from it traveled for about 4.3 billion years, which is less than the accompanying distance due to the fact that during the entire journey of photons, the distance between the Milky Way and the cluster managed to increase as a result of the expansion of the Universe.
Webb’s image of the cluster SMACS J0723.3 is today the most detailed image of such a distant region of space.
Prior to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, mid-infrared observations above five micrometers were limited to extragalactic sources such as active galactic nuclei and bright galaxies with a redshift of z = 3. Scientists expect JWST with its MIRI (Mid -Infrared Instrument) will revolutionize astronomical observations of the distant Universe in the infrared region of the spectrum.
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