A universe you've never seen before

A universe you’ve never seen before

Galaxies formed after the Big Bang 13 billion years ago: first image from telescopes James Webb Published on Monday. US President Joe Biden wanted to participate in the event.

Published at 7:00 am.

Mathieu Perrault

Mathieu Perrault

The largest space telescope and the largest natural telescope in the universe. Monday evening was the combination chosen by the White House to demonstrate the space telescope’s capabilities. James Webb.

“These are amazing, incredible images,” Montreal astrophysicist René Doyen testified from the Goddard Space Center in Maryland, where he publishes other images. web Tuesday morning.

President Joe Biden has chosen Scoop NASA has released one of its photographs showing a cluster of galaxies located 4.6 billion light-years away. Announced Monday morning, the public relations plan left the scientific community grumbling for months as it prepared for the July 12 release. To make matters worse, the White House inauguration was almost two hours late.

With a space telescope HubbleWe came to a wall 12.5, 13 billion light years away. We couldn’t go any further.

René Doyen is director of the Exoplanets Research Institute at the University of Montreal

When we look up at the sky, the farther an object is from Earth, the older it is because the universe is expanding. So the objects farthest from its center are the oldest. This means the web It is possible to determine when the first galaxies appeared.

“We know that there was a period of a few hundred million years when there was only hydrogen and helium,” says Mr. Doyan. Gradually, there were fluctuations, then nuclear reactions. The first stars are believed to have been massive, 200 to 300 times the mass of our Sun, and lasted a few million years. Then there were the first galaxies. with web, we can understand exactly what happened. »

Photo by Chris Gunn, Associated Press Archives

The centerpiece of a space telescope James Webb, The photograph was taken before the telescope was launched

Galaxies act as lenses

This is the first scientific film web Obtained by pointing it at a cluster of galaxies called SMACS 2073. SMACS 2073 is so large that light from objects behind it is bent. This “lensing effect” then makes it possible to observe very, very distant regions. This makes SMACS 2073 the largest natural telescope in the universe.

On Tuesday, NASA will release images of four targets, including the exoplanet WASP-96b, located 1,000 light-years from Earth. It is a Jupiter-sized planet whose orbit around its star lasts only a few days.

“We can observe molecules,” said Mr. That, says Toyon, is its expertise. He also led the development of one of the instruments of webA “Slitless Near Infrared Imager and Spectrometer” (or NIRISS, for short).

Canada provided another instrument web And 5% will be observation time.

Technically, a model was presented in May to evaluate the resolution of these first images web. This is an image of the Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy in the Milky Way, with space telescope images. SpicerIn comparison, launched in 2003.

Photo from NASA Twitter account

A comparison of the Magellanic Cloud as seen by space telescopes was published in May Spitzer And James Webb

Seven times more powerful than Hubble

webLaunched on December 25, it is seven times more powerful than the space telescope HubbleStarted in 1989.

It took 30 years to complete webNamed for a NASA administrator in the 1960s.

The web It is located 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, four times the distance from the Moon. It shields itself from light (and therefore the heat of the Sun) with a screen the size of a tennis court to observe the most distant and faintest stars.

The location of the telescope is called “Lagrange point L2”. It is characterized by an equal force of terrestrial and solar gravity, which means that there will be very little change in the position of the telescope.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that SMACS 2073 is 4.6 light-years from Earth.

Learn more

  • US$9.6 billion
    Projected cost of space telescope James Webb

    Source: NASA

    178 million CAD
    Expected cost of Canadian contribution to space telescope James Webb In 24 years

    Source: Canadian Space Agency

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