A stunning deep infrared image of the universe by the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed 42 new galactic lenses, revealing an unprecedented depth of lens shape, eventually helping us see the first galaxies.
unveiling of James Webb Space Telescope Deep shot of US President Joe Biden in a special presentation White House event Who was arrested on July 11 was a closely guarded secret. Teams of astronomers rushed to be the first to analyze it, with three new research papers published on the community’s prepress server within a week of the image’s release.
“We were a little upset, to be honest!” Brenda Fry, an astronomer at the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona and co-author of one of the papers, told Space.com. We usually have a warning a year or two in advance, but no one has seen it [this release] Come now.”
The Universe SMACS J0723.3-7327, abbreviated as SMACS J0723, is one of a group of galaxy clusters imaged by Webb for several gravitational lensing studies. Plus, Frye said, there’s nothing exceptional about the SMACS J0723 yet.
Beautifully chosen [to be one of the first images] Because it was a relatively unknown target.”
gravity lens A phenomenon in which the gravitational pull of a very massive object causes space to bend into a shape similar to an optical lens, distorting the light from behind the lens and amplifying it in brightness. Galactic clusters are particularly effective lenses because they contain an enormous amount of mass (in the case of SMACS J0723, about 100 trillion times the mass of the Sun) in a relatively compact volume of about 3 to 5 million light-years in diameter.
Previous polls conducted by Hubble Space Telescope and retired Herschel Space Observatory They found some lenticular images of background galaxies in SMACS J0723. But Webb is taking research to a whole new level.
The Frye team, led by graduate student Massimo Pascal of the University of California, Berkeley, discovered 42 new lens images in the background of the new deep field image. Gravitational lenses can create multiple images of the same galaxy, so these 42 images represent 19 separate galaxies. Another team led by Gabriel Kamena of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany counted 27 images with a new lens.
Whatever the end result, these lenticular images allow scientists to better map how matter is seen and visualized dark – Distributed in the SMACS J0723 series to design the lens shape. One of the new research papers, from a team led by Guillaume Mahler of Durham University, concludes that most of the mass is concentrated in the cluster’s brightest and most massive galaxies.
“Not only do our models describe mass, but we can also use them to describe the magnification of these lenticular images,” Pascal told Space.com.
Currently, the most distant galaxy confirmed is a distant object known as GN-z11Which has a redshift of 11.09, which means that we see it as it was 13.4 billion years ago, that is, after only 400 million years the big explosion. (The term “redshift” refers to the wavelength extension of light that occurs when the universe stretches between a distant object and the viewer. The higher the redshift factor, the further away the light source is.)
The most distant candidate is HD1, which was discovered at a redshift of 13, looks to us as it did just 300 million years after the Big Bang. and recently, Web Early Results It identified another candidate galaxy with redshift 13, called GLASS-z11. However, astronomers have not confirmed the redshift of HD1 or GLASS-z11.
Webb is expected to break both redshift records, although none of the lens systems observed on SMACS J0723 have been identified beyond Gn-z11 or HD1. Pascal and Frey are interested in mapping a phenomenon called the “critical curve” because gravitational lensing applies the greatest magnification force along these curves and where astronomers have the best chance of seeing The first galaxies.
“The typical magnification in the lens assembly is close to 10 times, which is not enough to see the first galaxies,” Frey said. “But if we look near the critical curve, things there are magnified hundreds or even thousands of times.”
Think of a critical curve as contour lines on a topographic map of a surface country. The more these contour lines are grouped together, the higher a particular spot will rise on the surface. Likewise, the critical curve is where the contour lines of a gravitational potential converge, and the greater their number, the greater the strength of that potential and the magnification associated with it. The location and shape of images using the lens can provide an indication of where the critical curve is.
“Ultimately, we want to look directly along the critical curve where the magnification is higher, and that’s where we’ll find the highest redshifted galaxies,” Frey said.
For this reason, Webb’s first three new articles on the deep field focused on modeling the amount and distribution of matter in the frontal mass, and thus the shape of the lens and the location of the critical curve.
However, the modeling can also tell us something about the history of the galactic cluster.
“We felt that the overall distribution was a little longer than expected,” Pascal said. “Maybe that says something about Cluster fusion historyAnd we can extrapolate that and learn something about the formation of the block as a whole, which happens in a very chaotic environment where gravity All these galaxies attract each other.”
The immediate next step for Pascal, Frey’s team and two of the research paper’s authors is to follow the peer-review process to see these findings published in scientific journals. In addition, data from NIRISS (Near Infrared Imaging and Slit Spectrometer) is awaiting analysis and should help scientists determine the spectral redshift of lenticular galaxies and see how far away they are. (The deep field image was taken by NIRCam, a near-infrared camera.)
“Before Webb filmed him, SMACS J0723 was not the star of the show,” Pascal said. “Now all of a sudden it’s paper after paper, which really shows how powerful the Webb is, and it reveals things we couldn’t see before.”
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