The largest space telescope in history James Webbconfirmed the existence of seven galaxies at a distance that astronomers call “redshift 7.9”, barely 650 million years after the great explosion.
The seven galaxies were in an evolving cluster, and are therefore objects very close to the Big Bang, when the universe was formed.
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These are also the first galaxies confirmed by spectral data, thanks to JWST technology, which is equipped with near infrared spectrometer (NIRSpec) that was key to confirming the existence of these galaxies, NASA explains in a statement.
The research results have been published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. These very distant galaxies, of which the telescope has produced an image, were initially studied by the Hubble Telescope (NASA/ESA), within the program border fields.
However, unable to detect light beyond the near infrared, Hubble was unable to see more detail. The James Webb Space Telescope has resumed its investigation, collecting detailed spectral data as well as images.
Astronomers have used Webb’s NIRSpec to precisely measure the collective distance of galaxies and the high speeds at which they are moving within a halo of dark matter — about 1,000 kilometers per second.
In addition, the spectral data allowed astronomers to model and map the future evolution of the cluster, up to the present day in the modern universe.
According to his calculations, This protocluster will eventually resemble a coma cluster, meaning it could become one of the densest galaxy clusters known, with thousands of galaxies within it.
Before Webb, astronomers didn’t have high-resolution imagery or infrared spectral data to perform this kind of science, but JWST was developed specifically to observe unstudied places that are at the very beginning of the history of the universe, NASA recalls.
The note concluded that James Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) capable of reaching distant worlds and investigating the origins of the universe and our place in it.
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ESA provided the NIRSpec spectrometer and 50% mid-infrared MIRI instrument, designed and built by a consortium of nationally funded European institutes (the European MIRI Consortium) in collaboration with JPL and the University of Arizona.