James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 6/10/2024

NASA’s Webb Opens New Window on Supernova Science (NIRCam Image)

Webb Telescope: supernova discovery machine! Webb has identified 10 times more supernovae in the early universe than previously known. Several are the most distant examples of their type, including those used to measure the universe's expansion rate. As the universe expands, light gets stretched into longer (infrared) wavelengths over time. This is called redshift! Because their light has been traveling such great distances, and for so long, Webb’s powerful and sensitive infrared eye is ideal for observing far-off supernovae. Before Webb, only a handful of supernovae above a redshift of 2 (corresponding to when the universe was 3.3 billion years old) had been found. Now Webb’s data sample includes dying stars that exploded when the universe was less than 2 billion years old, in its pre-teens. Learn more: science.nasa.gov/missions/webb/nasas-webb-opens-new-windo... This image: The JADES Deep Field uses observations taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as part of the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. A team of astronomers studying JADES data identified about 80 objects (circled in green) that changed in brightness over time. Most of these objects, known as transients, are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. Prior to this survey, only a handful of supernovae had been found above a redshift of 2, which corresponds to when the universe was only 3.3 billion years old — just 25% of its current age. The JADES sample contains many supernovae that exploded even further in the past, when the universe was less than 2 billion years old. It includes the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old. | Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, JADES Collaboration Image description: Space telescope image showing hundreds of objects of different colors, shapes, and sizes scattered across the black background of space. There are small red blobs; larger, fuzzy white or blueish ball-shaped masses with bright centers; white, pink, or blue disc shapes; clear spiral structures; and barely discernible specs. Eighty-three of the smaller objects in the image are circled in green. Some of the circles are close together; some are far apart; some overlap. There is no apparent pattern in the distribution. Image & Description by NASA