Perhaps one of the more exciting aspects of the study is that the observations by James Webb enabled astronomers to study a galaxy that is so distant, we see as it looked some 13 billion years ago, when our universe was no more than 680 million years old.
The James Webb Space Telescope is helping astronomers better understand the universe we live in. Observations by the state-of-the-art space telescope have enabled astronomers to spy on star formation in ancient galaxies in the early universe. According to a recent report by the University of Stockholm in Sweden, new photographs of galaxy clusters have enabled scientists to study, for the first time, extremely compact structures of star clusters inside galaxies, dubbed clumps.
Einstein was right
A study published in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society details the first study phase of star formation in distant galaxies. According to a statement, the galaxy clusters studied are of behemoth size, so large that they can bend light passing through their center. This confirms a theory predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915. But, as revealed by Adélaïde Claeyssens, one of the study’s lead authors, “this, in turn, produces a kind of magnifying glass effect: the images of background galaxies are magnified.”
The natural phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, paired with the extraordinary resolution of James Webb, has allowed scientists to spot even the smallest stellar clumps within galaxies. Studying these structures has allowed astronomers to understand better the link between clump formation and the evolution of ancient galaxies that formed only a few million years after the Big Bang. The entire study process is exciting since this is something that scientists could not do before.
12 billion years ago
“The telescope is a game-changer for the entire field of research and helps us understand how galaxies form and evolve,” explained Angela Adamo, one of the study’s lead authors. Perhaps one of the more exciting aspects of the study is that the observations by James Webb enabled astronomers to study a galaxy that is so distant, we see as it looked some 13 billion years ago, when our universe was no more than 680 million years old. In cosmological time scales, this is incredibly short.
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