Observations indicate that Eärendel has a companion star
The discovery of extremely distant stars, or those closest in time to the Big Bang, can provide insights into the first few chapters of our universe’s history. In 2022, the Hubble Space Telescope He broke his own record, seeing the farthest star yet. Nicknamed Earendel, this star gave off its light during the first billion years of the universe’s life.
However, finding out and confirming the star’s distance is only the beginning. This is the place NASA‘s James Webb Space Telescope Webb’s initial observations of Eärendel have revealed insights into the type of star, and even the galaxy surrounding the star. Future analysis of Webb’s spectroscopic observations of Earendel and its host galaxy, Sunrise Arc, could reveal information about brightness, temperature and composition.
The Webb Space Telescope reveals the colors of Earendel
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has followed up observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope of the most distant star ever discovered in the very distant universe, during the first billion years after the Big Bang. Webb’s NIRCam (Near Infrared Camera) instrument reveals that the star is a massive B-type star twice as hot as our sun, and about a million times more luminous.
discovery and monitoring
The star, which the research team has named Earendel, is located in the Sunrise Arc galaxy and is only detectable due to the combined power of human technology and nature via an effect called gravitational lensing. Hubble and Webb were able to spot Earendel due to their lucky alignment behind a wrinkle in space-time created by massive galaxy cluster WHL0137-08. The cluster of galaxies, located between us and Erendel, is so massive that it distorts the very fabric of space, producing a magnifying effect, allowing astronomers to look through the cluster like a magnifying glass.
Travel to the massive galaxy cluster called WHL0137-08, which contains the most powerful magnifying galaxy known in the universe’s first billion years: the Sunrise Arc, and within that galaxy, the most distant star ever discovered. The journey begins with a ground photograph taken by astrophotographer Akira Fujii, then transitions to a panel of a digital sky survey. Next, an image from the Dark Energy Camera appears on the Victor M. Blanco Observatory, and then the video finally reaches the James Webb Space Telescope’s image of the galaxy cluster.
Zoom and record
While other features in the galaxy appear many times due to gravitational lensing, Earendel only appears as a single point of light even in Webb’s high-resolution infrared imaging. Based on this, astronomers determined that the object was magnified by a factor of at least 4,000, and therefore very small – the most distant star ever discovered, observed a billion years after the big bang. The previous record-holder for the most distant star was discovered by Hubble and spotted about 4 billion years after the Big Bang. Another research team using Webb recently identified a gravitationally lensed star they called Quyllur, a red giant star observed 3 billion years after the Big Bang.
Attributes and Companions
Massive stars like Earendel often companions. Astronomers did not expect Webb to detect any of Eärendel’s companions because they would be so close together they would be indistinguishable in the sky. However, based solely on Earendel’s colors, astronomers think they’re seeing hints of a cooler, redder companion star. This light has been stretched by the expansion of the universe to longer wavelengths than Hubble’s instruments can detect, and thus could only have been detected with Webb’s.
Webb’s NIRCam also shows other remarkable details in the Sunrise Arc, the most massive galaxy yet discovered in the universe’s first billion years. Features include young star forming regions and old star clusters 10 light-years in diameter. On either side of the crease of maximum magnification, which passes directly through the Earendel, these features are reflected by the distortion of gravitational lensing. The star-forming region looks elongated, and is estimated to be less than 5 million years old. The smaller dots on either side of Earendel are two images of an older, more established star cluster, estimated to be at least 10 million years old. Astronomers have determined that this star cluster is gravitationally bound and is likely to persist to this day. This shows us how the globular clusters in our area milky way They may have looked when they formed 13 billion years ago.
Ongoing analysis and future discoveries
Astronomers are currently analyzing data from Webb’s NIRSpec (Near Infrared Spectrometer) instruments for Sunrise Arc and Earendel, which will provide accurate composition and distance measurements of the galaxy.
Since Hubble’s discovery of Earendel, Webb has discovered others Very distant stars With this technique, though, there is nothing quite like Earendel. The discoveries have opened up a whole new realm of cosmos for stellar physics, and a new topic for scientists studying the early universe, as galaxies were once the smallest cosmic bodies detectable. The research team is cautiously hopeful that this is a step toward the eventual discovery of one of these first generation Of the stars, it consists only of the raw components of the universe that arose in the Big Bang – hydrogen and helium.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb solves mysteries in our solar system, looks beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and investigates mysterious structures and the origins of the universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partner, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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