James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 6/10/2024

JADES Transients (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: This mosaic displays three of about 80 transients, or objects of changing brightness, identified in data from the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. Most of the transients are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. By comparing images taken in 2022 and 2023, astronomers could locate supernovae that recently exploded (like the examples shown in the first two columns), or supernovae that had already exploded and whose light was fading away (third column). The age of each supernova can be determined from its redshift (designated by ‘z’). The light of the most distant supernova, at a redshift of 3.8, originated when the universe was only 1.7 billion years old. A redshift of 2.845 corresponds to a time 2.3 billion years after the big bang. The closest example, at a redshift of 0.655, shows light that left its galaxy about 6 billion years ago, when the universe was just over half its current age. Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, C. DeCoursey (University of Arizona), JADES Collaboration Image description: Six space telescope images show 2 different observations (rows) of 3 different galaxies (columns). Rows labeled with observation year. Top: 2022; bottom: 2023. Columns labeled with galaxy’s redshift (z). From left to right: 3.8; 2.845; 0.655. Left column: Galaxy labeled z 3.8 looks small, fuzzy, irregular in shape; orange-brown with blobs of blue and white. 2023 image includes arrow pointing to small pinkish blob that is not present in 2022 image. Middle: Galaxy labeled z 2.845 is fuzzy, irregular in shape; orange-brown with white blobs; appears somewhat larger than galaxy z 3.8. 2023 image includes arrow pointing to pinkish-white blob that is not present in 2022 image. Right: Galaxy labeled z 0.655 appears much larger than other two galaxies. It is fuzzy pinkish-white, and has a distinct spiral shape with bright core and spiral arms marked with bright blueish-white blobs. 2022 image includes arrow pointing to bright white circular blob that is no longer apparent in the 2023 image. Image & Description by NASA