The Webb telescope discovers two galaxies like the Milky Way at 11,000 light years

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“I took one look at this data and said, 'Let's drop everything else!'” said Shardha Jogee, a professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Webb telescope discovers two galaxies like the Milky Way at 11,000 light years

 New images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveal for the first time galaxies with stellar bars (elongated features of stars that extend from the centers of galaxies toward their outer disks) at a time when the universe was only 25 years old. % of his present age.

 The finding ofThe so-called barred galaxies, similar to our Milky Way, so early in the universe will require research. This will allow astrophysicists to refine their theories of galaxy evolution.

 Prior to the JWST, Hubble Space Telescope images had never detected bars in times so young.In one Hubble image, one galaxy, EGS-23205, is little more than a disk-shaped blob, but in the corresponding JWST image taken last summer, it's a beautiful spiral galaxy with a clear star bar. Both are shown above.

“I took a look at this data and said, 'Let's drop everything else!'” said Shardha Jogee, a professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. “The barely visible bars in the Hubble data just showed up in the JWST image, showing the tremendous power of the JWST to see the underlying structure in galaxies,” he said in a statement, describing the data from the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey ( CEERS), led by UT Austin professor Steven Finkelstein.

“Entering a forest no one has ever entered before”

  another barred galaxy, EGS-24268,also from about 11 billion years ago, making two barred galaxies exist further back in time than any discovered above.

 In an article accepted for publication in 'The Astrophysical Journal Letters', they highlight these two galaxies and show examples of four other barred galaxies from more than 8 billion years ago.

  “For this study, we are looking for a new regimen where no one has used this kind of data or done this kind of quantitative analysis before,” said Yuchen “Kay” Guo, a graduate student who led the study. analysis. “So it's all new. It's like walking into a forest no one's ever been in before.”

Star Formation

 The bars play It played an important role in the evolution of galaxies by funneling gas into the central regions, which drives star formation.

 “The bars solve the supply chain problem in galaxies,” Jogee said. “Just as we need to get raw materials from the port to inland factories that make new products, a rod transports gas with force to the central region, where the gas is rapidly converted into new stars at a rapid rate. typically 10 to 100 times faster than in the rest of the galaxy.” The bars also help supermassive black holes grow at the centers of galaxies by funneling gas part of the way.

 The discovery of bars during such early epochs shakes up galaxy evolution scenarios in several ways. “This discovery of early bars means that galaxy evolution models now have a new path through bars to accelerate the production of new stars at early epochs,” Jogee said.

Challenging Theoretical Models

And the very existence of these early bars defies theoretical models, since they need to get the physics of the galaxy right to predict the correct abundance of bars. The team will test I will discuss different models in future articles.

 JWST can reveal structures in distant galaxies better than Hubble for two reasons: First, its larger mirror gives it a greater light-gathering capability, allowing you to see further and with higher resolution. Second, it can see through dust better, since it observes at longer infrared wavelengths than Hubble.

 Undergraduate students Eden Wise and Zilei Chen played a He played a key role in the research by visually scanning hundreds of galaxies, looking for those that appeared to be barred, which helped determine the number of galaxies. This led to narrowing the list down to a few dozen for other researchers to analyze with a more intensive mathematical approach.