When James Webb launched on Christmas Day 2021, many believed that the most powerful and advanced telescope ever built would send the “old” Hubble Telescope into retirement. But that was never the goal: the two space observatories are not competitors, but complementary; What one can see, another cannot discover. However, when observations of both are combined, an enormous wealth of detail is obtained, revealing true hidden scientific treasures. A convergence of efforts between Webb and Hubble has led to the image, now released by NASA and the European Space Agency, which presents… The “hottest view” of the universe.
The picture appears Galaxies 4.3 billion light years away from uslocated in the structure of MACS0416, is a pair of galaxy clusters on a collision course and is expected to form a larger cluster in the future.
Hubble had previously observed this pair of clusters – which operate in the visible light spectrum – as part of the “Frontiers Fields” scientific program that opened in 2014 with the aim of imaging the deep universe. This made it possible, at the time, to find some of the most distant galaxies in a universe that was still in its infancy.
Since it is a telescope that observes in the infrared range (light invisible to our eyes), it is easier for James Webb to “dive” deeper into the universe, entering the primordial universe in search of the first galaxies and stars.
By combining the Hubble and James Webb images into one, what you get is a vivid, panchromatic image. In addition to the aesthetic element, the colors in this image also have a scientific meaning. “Bluer galaxies are relatively close together and often show intense star formation, and can be better detected by Hubble, while red galaxies tend to be more distant and can be better detected by Webb.”The European Space Agency explains in a statement.
Furthermore, this new image also allows us to identify objects much further away from the galaxy group in the foreground. This is due to a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, in which an extremely massive structure forms It creates a gravitational field capable of distorting and amplifying the light of distant objects behind it.
Among these objects that have been “pulled” into the image by gravitational lensing is the giant star Mothra, located in a galaxy that is seen as it was when the Big Bang occurred just 3 billion years ago, about 21% of the world. The universe is 13.8 billion years old.
James Webb often refers to galaxy clusters that generate the effect of gravitational lensing. In this way, the space telescope was able to discover some distant galaxies, and collect valuable information about the chemical composition, mass, and shape of these first galaxies that appeared in the early universe.
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