(ORDO NEWS) — Wolf-Landmark-Melott (hereinafter referred to as VLM) is an irregular barred dwarf galaxy located on the edge of the Local Group, which includes the Milky Way and Andromeda.
Located about 3.04 million light-years from Earth, the ULM is far from the large galaxies of the Local Group, representing an interesting object for study that can tell more about the origin and evolution of dwarf “stellar factories”.
New observations from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope show just how well the spacecraft can capture such distant objects.
Interest in dwarf galaxies
The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope , whose mission ended in 2020, gave a powerful impetus to the development of infrared astronomy.
The James Webb Telescope, a next-generation infrared observatory, was a logical continuation of the Spitzer program.
Previously, Spitzer had already observed the internal structure of the VLM, but James Webb, as seen in the comparison image below, took this to a whole new level.
James Webb was not only able to see individual stars, but even detected background galaxies far beyond the VLM.
Observing a dwarf galaxy is not just about creating a pretty picture. The purpose of such events is to understand the evolution of stars both in the local and in the distant Universe.
Dwarf galaxies are something like a time capsule that can tell about events taking place billions of years before the appearance of mankind and even the solar system .
“The main scientific challenge is to reconstruct the history of star formation in this galaxy,” said Kristen McQuinn, an astrophysicist at Rutgers University and one of the study’s authors.
“Low-mass stars can live for billions of years, which means that some of the stars we see today in the VLM formed in the early universe.
By determining the properties of these low-mass stars (such as their age), we can get an idea of what happened in the very distant past.”
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