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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Hubble Telescope
Posted: July 31, 2022 at 9:16 pm
Those spectacular pictures of galaxies forming at a time very near the origin of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope came at a pretty price: $9.7 billion, to be precise. It is fair to ask, Is the Webb telescope project worth the price?
The James Webb Space Telescope project began in 1996 with an expected launch in 2007 for a relatively low cost of $1 billion to $3.5 billion. But the project underwent a bewildering array of delays and unexpected scientific challenges. By the time the telescope was launched on Christmas Day 2021, the cost spiraled to nearly $10 billion. One journal referred to Webb as the telescope that ate astronomy.
To be fair, that price tag covers the entire lifetime of the project, and it has been partly shouldered by the European and Canadian space agencies as well as NASA. The telescope is scheduled to be operational for more than five years in space but has enough fuel to last more than 10 years, if all goes well.
In assessing whether we are getting our moneys worth, consider what we stand to gain beyond the stunning pictures of the cosmos as it existed 13 billion years ago. The primary mission of JWST is to better understand the life history of the universe. The universe is ever-expanding since its origin in the Big Bang, casting light from distant objects in reddish tones. Unlike the Hubble Telescope, the Webb is an infrared telescope, making it uniquely sensitive to deep red light and 100 times more powerful. Webb can see much deeper into space and farther back in time than any instrument ever invented on Earth.
JWST will show us galaxies as they were when the universe was less than a billion years old. It will show us galaxies colliding and merging and revealing their chemical secrets. We are going to look straight into black holes and their escaping materials. These are the sights that will help unravel the history of our universe. What price is that alone worth?
Start your morning with today's local news
A secondary mission of the Webb telescope is to probe for an answer to the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? Webb is already searching for Earth 2.0 exoplanets with environments similar to Earth capable of sustaining life as we know it. JWST will examine the atmospheres of exoplanets beyond our solar system for oxygen or methane gases that signal living organisms. Though not likely, maybe Webb will find evidence of other sentient beings. JWST offers the best shot to date at such discoveries.
This new eye on the universe will test, challenge and develop the science of physics. Hundreds of years ago, the first telescopes revealed that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Todays better understanding of how the universe works is what, for better or worse, brought us computers and cellphones. Who knows how Webb may retool human knowledge, but experience suggests it will most certainly affect our learning curve.
The James Webb Space Telescope project has enthralled the imaginations of people all over the globe. A recent online poll found that three in five Americans believe the Webb telescope has been a good investment. Only 13% of those polled thought it was a bad investment.
Most people were not even thinking about the price tag when the James Webb Space Telescope lit up our screens with remarkable detail of emerging stellar births and individual stars within the cosmic clouds of Carina Nebula, near the center of the universe. Astonishment in the face of incredible beauty, as one observer poetically described the image. And this is just a sneak preview of what is yet to come.
The Webb telescope is likely to change how we understand the universe, refine our knowledge of physics and cosmology, and rewrite our textbooks.
Even aside from the eventual scientific and economic spinoffs, simply better knowing our place in the universe cannot be measured in dollars. Yes, indeed, the James Webb Space Telescope is worth the price and so much more.
Craig Holman is a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Public Citizen or its members. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
The rest is here:
Opinion: At $10 billion, the Webb telescope is a bargain - Daily Press
Posted: July 21, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Since its launch, arguably the roughest luck the James Webb Space Telescope has had is hitting a micrometeoroid the size of a grain of sand. But, of the three hundred and forty-four details that were once listed as things that could go wrong and destroy the whole mission, none has happened. On July 12th, the first five scientific images taken by the telescope were released to the public. The level of detail has far surpassed expectations. These images carry news about the early universe, the birth and death of stars, the collision of galaxies, and the atmospheres of exoplanets. (Exoplanets are ones not in our solar system.) And theyre very, very pretty. The smudgy-pastel feel that previous telescopes delivered is not present. The sharpness and clarity might make you think of Vermeerwhat is being painted is light.
I am beyond cloud nine, the astrophysicist Marcia Rieke told me. Rieke has served as the chief scientist for one of the telescopes main instruments, the NIRCam; her husband, George Rieke, has been the chief U.S. scientist for another instrument, the MIRI. Marcias team looks at some of the shortest wavelengths that the telescope can perceive, while Georges team looks at some of the longest. There was always a possibility that the highly complex J.W.S.T. would disappoint, or fail altogether. Now I feel like the young people who worked on this projectthey have a bright future in astronomy, Marcia said.
Marcia Rieke had an opportunity to see the first images a few days before they were released, because she was asked to make a short presentation to help interpret them. The first one, called a deep-field image, is of a patch of sky that, from Earth, is about the equivalent of what would be occluded by a grain of sandor a micrometeoroidheld out at arms length. The Hubble telescope, which focussed on a similar patch of sky for two weeks, revealed thousands more galaxies than expected. The new image, which took less than a day to make, shows immensely more detailand more galaxies. No matter where weve pointed J.W.S.T., even in the images taken during commissioning that would last a few tens of seconds, we kept getting these galaxies that we werent even looking for in the background, Rieke said. She said that the team started to term these incidental galaxies photobombers.
Rieke was surprised by how moved she was by the beauty of the pictures. I knew computationally that the diffraction was limited to a micron, that the full width at half maximum was whateverI knew wed have pretty pictures, she said. I didnt expect them to be so absolutely stunning. You know, if you start out in life as a ground-based astronomer... this is not the level of detail youre used to being able to see.
After her surprise subsided, she began to look at the galaxies that appeared the reddest. Their light had been travelling the longestsometimes for more than thirteen billion years. This means that they are being seen as they were not too long after the Big Bang. They hold information about how the earliest galaxies were formed, and of what elements they consisted. Now that we have the image, we go through the process of measuring, quantitatively, how bright every spot is with every filter that you measured with, she said. Then you can get an instant estimate of how far away that galaxy is.
A list of the most interesting or unusual galaxies was put together. And what is interesting depends on who you are, she said. Maybe youre interested in the most distant galaxy. Or the one that shows a black hole. Then another J.W.S.T. instrument, NIRSpec, can give data that open up other lines of inquiries: How many heavy elements or metals are there in that galaxy? Or is the galaxy so young that those heavy elements havent had time to form? In September, a longer exposure of a deep field that is represented in a famous Hubble image will be takenten times longerwhich will bring news of even earlier, and therefore fainter, light. This light will be coming from even closer to the earliest moments of our universewhen the first little aggregates of stars have come together, Marcia said.
Each of the five images had its own Easter eggs, as one of the astronomers who presented the images live on a NASA stream put it. One, of a dying star sending out waves of energy, revealed a second star nearby, which the dying star was orbiting. Little rays of dying starlight were escaping from the clouds of dust, just as sun rays might pierce through clouds. In the image of the exoplanet WASP-96b, water vapor was seen. In the image of the Carina Nebulaa birthplace of starsa dark billow in the cloud of dust and ionized gas presented a mystery.
Rieke feels that these images are the beginning of getting to pay back to the public the moneysome ten billion dollarsthat was spent on the J.W.S.T. For pragmatists, one might think, O.K., Webb can study exoplanets in great detail, she said. We can, for example, look for evidence of climate change on an exoplanet and study that, since we dont have other examples in our solar system where we can look at the effects of carbon dioxide and other gases. But Rieke is clearly more persuaded by other kinds of gains. People need hope and challenges. And people need the spice of discovery. She said that, for scientists, these images bring a sense of scale. What does it mean to know our place in the universe? You can say, Who cares? But, if we really want to understand the universe, we need to know at least how it works.
Some people might find the level of detail in the images less like a Vermeer and more like a Hieronymus Boscheverywhere you zoom in, you get an image that is frightening, alien, or sublime. Theres something vertiginous and confusing about taking ones life seriously, until a new sense of scale alters that perspective. I spoke with Rieke while travelling with my daughter, who made an observation about our hotel room that I found relevant to, well, cosmic beauty. You know what I like about small hotel rooms? she asked. I didnt know. Theres less there to be scared of in the dark. Of course, such experiences of scale can be comforting at other ages, too.
I asked Rieke about an idea related to whats called the Drake equation. How likely is it that there are other civilizations out there, and how many might there be? Some have used the equation to say that its almost certain that there are stories a long time ago and in galaxies far, far away. Others have solved the equation to say, basically, no. Rieke said, I feel pretty confident that Webb will at some point identify an exoplanet in the habitable zone. A place thats nice and comfy, with an atmosphere whose composition is like Earths. But, she said, even with input from biologists and chemists, theres still a lot of controversy over what might be evidence for the suggestions of life.
Bob Korechoff, 75, is an aerospace engineer who worked with a team of engineers to fix the Hubble Telescope – The Spokesman Review
Posted: at 1:13 pm
Robert Korechoff, 75, currently lives a quiet life in Western Montana, but 30 years ago Korechoff worked on a camera that brought humanity awe-inspiring pictures from billions of light years away.
The camera that he helped create, which was replaced in 2009, was a part of the Hubble Space Telescope, named after noted astronomer Edwin Hubble. The camera that Korechoff helped create now resides in the Smithsonians Air and Space Museum.
Korechoff was born in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA, where he graduated with his bachelors in physics in 1968, later earning his doctorate in 1977. After graduating with his bachelors, Korechoff went to work as an aerospace engineer. Korechoff spent 42 years in this field, but spent the majority of that time as an optical engineer.
That line of work involved the design, analysis and testing of optical instruments. Such things as telescopes, cameras, instruments called spectrometers, that are in Earths orbit or are going to end up going to some other planet, Korechoff said.
Korechoff worked at several different companies on many different projects throughout his long career, including many military and government jobs. He believes the most significant work he did was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, where Korechoff worked on the Hubble.
In April 1990, the Hubble telescope launched. But by June a problem was discovered with the telescopes primary mirror that Perkin-Elmer Corp. had been contracted by NASA to produce. The faulty mirror sent back unclear images captured from the Hubble. This problem led to severe disappointment for many scientists who had spent so much time on the project, including Korechoff.
The telescope had a huge amount of hype, Korechoff said. You know, there were actually astronomers all over the world who were waiting for this telescope to be launched because they knew it was going to be groundbreaking. And then to find out that there was a problem with it, of course, was just catastrophic.
By July, Korechoff had been asked to help a team of scientists at JPL modify the next-generation cameras optics so it could compensate for the mirrors error. In order to solve the problem, Korechoff said he first had to work with several teams of engineers from around the country to understand more about the faulty mirrors shape. Determining the mirrors shape took a year, Korechoff said.
Once the problem with the mirror was understood, JPL set out to design and modify the next-generation camera. Designing and creating the new camera took another two years, Korechoff said, which he likened to eyes working with a pair of glasses.
If you wear glasses, thats because the lens in your eye doesnt have the right shape, so the images are blurry. You can correct that by wearing eyeglasses, Korechoff said. So, you put another lens in front of the one thats not working right, and the two of them together can form a good image.
By December 1993, the mission was launched to manually install the next-generation camera that would fix the faulty mirror. During this time, the Hubble was approximately 300-400 miles above the Earth. The Hubble, Korechoff said, was designed from the beginning to be serviced by astronauts, and all the instruments were made to be removable and replaceable. Korechoff described as risky the astronauts four-day servicing mission to fix the Hubble and said it required a huge amount of planning. The mission was successful, and the Hubble began to send clear images of the cosmos back to Earth.
Nicole Moore, an associate professor of physics at Gonzaga, said she believes that the work of the Hubble has provided humanity with innumerable amounts of scientific input. Moore specializes in optics and believes that the faulty mirror has taught us a lot about how to test and design complex scientific instruments.
Moore aid she hopes the mistake that was made on the Hubble will teach us to be more careful when designing impressive scientific feats. Evidence of the need to be more cautious when building these instruments can be seen in the recent success of the James Webb Space Telescope. The hope of the Webb telescope is to pick up where the Hubble left off. Despite this, it is undeniable that the root of a lot of astronomical insight can be traced back to the advent of the Hubble Space Telescope.
I think Hubble really enabled us to understand the history of the Universe in a much deeper way than we could before, Moore said, And much more beautifully, too.
Today, Korechoff and his wife, Sharon, whom he met while she worked in administration at JPL, enjoy their retirement by kayaking, canoeing and admiring Swan Lake, near Bigfork, Montana. Korechoff said his work on the Hubble is the most interesting and important job he ever had.
I think it has given people a whole different view on our place in the universe, Korechoff said. Every time there is an advancement in astronomy, it seems that our place in the universe diminishes, in a good way. People used to, 2,000 years ago, think that everything was centered around the Earth. Then, slowly as more things were learned and more observations were made, we realized, Hey, were not that important.
Were just a speck, he continued. Were just a speck in the universe.
Posted: at 1:13 pm
Yeah, yeah. Last week, the James Webb telescope offered us five never-before-seen photos from outer space, and the internet went wild. I get it Webb is the hot new thing but hes hardly the first telescope to make its way out of the stratosphere. Not to make this about me, but I, the Hubble Telescope, have been orbiting the Earth since 1990. And Im still out here. Five stupid photos? Ive taken 1.5 million. Give me some credit!
If you could see into the past on Planet Earth, youd know I was once a star in my day, too. Rory Gilmore was 32 in the Netflix reboot, and her life was just beginning. (Meanwhile, the Webb has never known the pain of having to wait a whole week for the next episode to air on the WB.) My mirror may be much smaller, but I can loop around the Earth in just 95 minutes. Probably because I dont stop to take constant selfies.
What does Webb do that I cant? Snap some extra gas and dust? Honestly, you could slap an Instagram filter on me and Id be almost as good as the Webb images. Besides, whos to say sharper photos are even better? Havent you heard of impressionism? A full-on Monet? Clueless?
NASA spent $10 billion on Webb, but if I had that kind of money, I wouldnt just see in infrared Id see in seven dimensions. Also, Id buy Costco stock. With age comes wisdom: I now know it was a mistake not to start investing earlier.
I dont mean to sound bitter, though. My anger is sadness at its core. Not the existential emptiness of seeing high resolution images of the vast expanse of space thats just my backyard but the kind that comes from scrolling on Instagram too long and realizing your much-younger sorority sisters are now engaged. Everybody wants to compare my photos to Webbs. Oh, Webb found the second star in the Carina Nebula! Wow, Webb got the best shot of Stephens Quintet! Big whoop. Has social media taught us nothing? Comparison is the root of dissatisfaction. People are even saying that my photos look like the before picture in a Botox ad compared to Webbs, but 32 is way too young for that. (Isnt it? Right?)
Taylor Swift yes, we get music in space once bravely asked the question, Will you still want me when Im nothing new? And it seems to this humble Hubble the answer is no. Now I know how Taylor felt when Olivia Rodrigo released Sour. And I cant even release a 10-minute version of one of my best images and ruin Jake Gyllenhaals life. Ill continue my lonely orbit until they retire me into the Pacific Ocean, sometime in the late 2030s. If outer space werent the very definition of out to pasture, Id say thats where I was headed. But truthfully, its where Ive always been.
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Posted: at 1:13 pm
Kristen McQuinn was granted early access to data from the worlds most powerful telescope
Rutgers astrophysicist Kristen McQuinn was granted early access to data from NASAs James Webb Space Telescope(JWST)to support her research into the expansion rate of the universe, determining the age of stars and reconstructing the history of a small nearby galaxy.
McQuinn, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, was awarded time on the most powerful telescope that has ever been put into space through a competitive proposal review process. She has been able to log in and download data to begin conducting analysis and observations.
McQuinn spoke to Rutgers Today about her research, her reaction to the stunning images from the telescope and why they are important to everyone not just scientists.
Can you tell us about your work with the James Webb Space Telescope?
My work focuses on how the smallest galaxies in our universe formed and evolved. I will use JWST to image some of the oldest stars in nearby galaxies including stars that formed when the universe was very young to reconstruct the galaxies histories. JWST will charter new ground in this area of science with its ability to resolve populations of very old and very faint stars in galaxies that are beyond Hubbles reach.
I also measure the distances to galaxies using the brightness of specific types of stars. Such distances are critical to determining the expansion rate of the universe, which is driven by a mysterious phenomenon we call dark energy. The measurements of the expansion rate from the near and distant universe disagree and have for a long time. Pinning down the distances to nearby galaxies can improve our calibration and understanding of the universes expansion. JWST will make a significant impact in my work in this area as I will be able to measure very precise and accurate distances over a much larger volume of space than previously possible. Max Newman, a graduate student in my research group, is already preparing for this type of work by calibrating a similar method using data from the Hubble telescope, JWSTs predecessor.
What ongoing research will you be doing with the telescope?
The observing time Ive been awarded on JWST will allow me to answer fundamental questions on how small galaxies form at cosmic dawn when the universe was much denser and hotter. I will also be able to create a "cosmic yardstick" using JWST that will allow us to more accurately measure the expansion of the universe.
What exactly do those beautiful photos show and tell us?
The first images are AMAZING! We knew they would be better than anything weve had in the past, but JWST has exceeded all of our expectations. The images have incredible resolution and reveal objects in the universe at infrared wavelengths that were previously hidden to us. For example, the Carina nebula shows in exquisite detail a stellar nursery where stars are being born, including jets of material being expelled by stellar sources and complexes of hot dust. The image of the interacting galaxies inStephans Quintetis also spectacular and resolves individual stars in the galaxies in a similar way that Hubble resolved stars in our nearby neighbor the Andromeda galaxy, only these systems are 20x farther!
Why is the release of the photos so significant? How does it advance our understanding of the universe and what we have learned so far? What will it allow us to learn going forward?
These initial images are really important. While JWST is designed to be used by professional astronomers, what we learn about the universe through JWST is for all of us. So engaging people of all ages and backgrounds in science by demonstrating JWSTs capabilities is a critical part of the success of the mission.
There are already discoveries in the data for example, fainter galaxies than weve ever found before are identifiable in the image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 but the real work is only just beginning. The best is yet to come though when the data are fully analyzed and detailed results are released by different teams around the world.
Posted: July 11, 2022 at 3:58 am
Photographer Andrew McCarthy recreated NASAs famous Pillars of Creation photograph of the Eagle Nebula using a $500 telescope.
The original iconic image, taken by the Hubble telescope, shows an active star-forming region featuring towering tendrils of cosmic dust and gas in the heart of the Eagle Nebula, cataloged as M16.
It was first photographed in 1995 by NASA and has had a huge cultural impact with the image being featured on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs, reports National Geographic.
McCarthy spoke to PetaPixel about how he recreated the Pillars of Creation from his backyard in Arizona with a 12-inch Newtonian telescope and a monochrome camera using narrowband filters to create a vibrant color image.
I shoot the Pillars of Creation a couple times a year. Its a surprisingly accessible target, near the Sagittarius star cloud in the core of the Milky Way, explains McCarthy.
I used special software to remove all the stars in the image, so this unobstructed view really shows off the vast structures of gas and dust within the Eagle Nebula.
The image was shot over several hours across multiple nights, while my telescope was guided along the stars using a sophisticated tracking mount that compensated for the earths rotation.
McCarthy posted the image to Reddit where its received almost 10,000 upvotes. He believes that theres not as big of a gap between very expensive government-sponsored telescopes and amateur star-gazers shooting from their backyard.
However, McCarthy says that the biggest barrier for amateurs is the atmosphere.
The atmosphere completely blocks quite a few photons and distorts the rest. Hubble, James Webb, spitzer, etc, are all at an advantage that they are able to collect photons from targets completely unfettered by the atmosphere.
But with commercial space flight opportunities expanding, amateur-operated space telescopes could soon become a thing, he adds.
McCarthy accepts that a giant budget will still get you far more detailed images the backyard hobbyist, but believes there arent as many limits as people may think.
With smaller telescopes, you can generally just spend more time shooting a target to see deeper into space. I can see objects billions of light-years away with my telescopes. Since Im just using it to take pictures, theres not much of a need for me to go further than that.
More of McCarthys work can be seen on his website and Instagram.
Posted: at 3:58 am
The James Webb Space Telescope is less than a week away from delivering its first science images on July 12, 2022. The moment marks the beginning of a new era in extragalactic exploration that is, the study of the billions of galaxies beyond the spiral arms of our own Milky Way.
Webbs suite of high-tech cameras and its 6.5-meter mirror will enable scientists to peer farther and deeper than with any other telescope in history. What it reveals will likely alter our perception of how galaxies form and our fundamental understanding of the universe.
A major part of delivering this mind-bending science will be using Webbs infrared and spectroscopic powers to peer into the churning cores of merging galaxies. What it finds will help scientists piece together the importance of mergers as star-marking factories, explain the obscure mechanics behind them, and fill in some of the missing puzzle pieces about how the universe formed.
Youll never be able to answer the question of how do galaxies form if you dont have a good understanding of mergers. Its just impossible, Christopher Conselice, an extragalactic astronomer at the University of Manchester, tells Inverse.
II Zw 096, a pair of galaxies well on their way to merging. NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/H. Inami (SSC/Caltech)
Galaxy mergers are what they say they are: A merger occurs when two (or sometimes three) galaxies crash into one another and become one. The process can take several hundred million to even a couple billion years to complete a relatively short time compared to the lifespan of your typical galaxy.
These collisions happen more often than you might think. Anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent of all existing galaxies are merging, and many others have likely experienced some kind of merger whether a major or a minor one in the past. Our own Milky Way is itself on a collision course: It will experience a major merger with the Andromeda galaxy in about 4.5 billion years.
When that happens, as is often the case with galaxy mergers, this new Milky Way-Andromeda hybrid will witness a rapid increase in star formation as gas clouds swirl, collapse, and form new stars a lot of new stars.
Your typical solo galaxy will only produce one or two solar masses per year. Merging galaxies on the other hand can produce hundreds of solar masses per year and create massive starbursts as well as powerful active galactic nuclei.
Because these galaxies produce stars at such a rapid clip, theyre much brighter especially in the infrared spectrum than other, non-merging galaxies, so scientists designate them as Luminous Infrared Galaxies or LIRGs. Not all of these bright galaxies are necessarily merging galaxies, but most of them are.
This is where the Webb Telescope comes in: It will soon peer closely at four special Luminous Infrared Galaxies. All four have names only astronomers can love like NGC 7469, NGC 3256, II Zw 096, and VV114. But we can all gain from discovering how they work.
The program is designed to be the first to explore the capabilities of James Webb and to see what we can see, Vivian U, an extragalactic astronomer at the University of California, Irvine, and co-investigator on the Webb Telescope study, tells Inverse.
The science is very broadso we tried to pick objects that hit a variety of parameters.
No two luminous infrared galaxies are the same. So the team selected various objects at different stages of merging as well as with differing amounts of dust, star clusters, and outflows. This range will offer a broad overview of galaxy mergers, how they form, and how they make stars so quickly.
NGC 3256, a galaxy mid-merger, which is a likely target for Webb.NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
Merging galaxies are some of the most powerful, star-making engines in the universe, but we dont know much about them. We know they create far more solar mass than usual, but we dont know how this happens and how resources in these gas-rich galaxies are shared between their merging black holes and the stars they go on to form.
Thats because luminous infrared galaxies kick up a lot of dust, especially at their cores where most of the action is taking place. Older space telescopes like Hubble and Spitzer cant penetrate the thick veil of dust to observe what lies within.
Dust likes to absorb light in the UV, Conselice says.
So we see these patchy galaxies and we dont really know whats going on with them.
Luckily, the Webb Telescope has a few tricks up its sleeve. With its Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), and 6.5-meter mirror, Webb will be able to peel back the curtain and get a good look at whats going on inside. Not only will Webb provide high-res images of luminous infrared galaxies, but it will also take various spectra that can reveal their content and the movement inside them.
An image tells you where things are or what things look like, U says. [With Webb] I get to see how things are moving. I get to see the kinematics and how gas is moving around a supermassive black hole.
With James Webb, we can see much deeper and much closer.
Exactly how deep and how close? NASA thinks the Webb Telescope will provide data 50 to 100 times more sensitive than previous infrared surveys and will be able to zoom in on areas a mere 150 to 300 light-years across (galaxies can be hundreds of millions of light-years wide, so this is relatively small).
Not too shabby.
Big Telescope, Big Implications
While Webb will fill in a lot of gaps about what we know about merging galaxies and LIRGs, itll also glimpse back to some of the earliest galaxies in the universe
For his part, astronomer Conselices work probes along the very edge of the known universe. While the Hubble telescope could see toddler galaxies forming some 700 million years after the Big Bang, the Webb Telescope will see some of the universes very first stars the baby galaxies.
Because the early universe was much hotter and denser than it is today, studies show that galaxy mergers were more common during the universes early years. This makes understanding the mechanics of galaxy mergers whether in the local universe or on its very edges all the more important.
Its a major process in the history of the formation of galaxies, Conselice says.
Conselice says studying mergers could help answer lingering questions about specific parts of galaxies, like black holes and star formation, and also shine a light on broader mysteries of the cosmos like dark matter and dark energy. They can even help answer how the known universe came to be.
And the journey to answer that question has begun. The Webb Telescope has already captured infrared imaging of at least one of the luminous infrared galaxies it is geared to target, and U expects the data for all four luminous infrared galaxy targets in her program to be available by the end of the year.
A new age of Webb-powered astronomy has finally arrived.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY.
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How the Webb Telescope will unveil the mysteries of cosmic star-making factories - Inverse
Posted: June 30, 2022 at 9:26 pm
An image of the distant galaxy cluster Abell 1351 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. EbelingAck)
While the world awaits the release of first images from the James Webb Space Telescope on 12 July, the Hubble Space Telescope is still producing stunning images of its own.
Images like this wide field view image of the galaxy cluster Abell 1351, which can be found 4 billion lights years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Hubble took the image using its Wide Field Camera , which is used for deep space surveys such as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, a record breaking image of some of the earliest galaxies in the Cosmos.
Like the ultra deep field image, almost every object seen in the image of Abell 1351 is a galaxy, including the long streaks of light they are galaxies whose light has been stretched through a process known as gravitational lensing. In order to see further into the universe, astronomers will use the gravity of a galactic cluster relatively closer to Earth to bend and magnify the light of other, more distant objects.
The image of Abell 1351 is just one snapshot in an album of images of massive galaxy clusters throughout the universe, Hubbles contribution to helping astronomers better understand the evolution of galaxies in the universe.
Palestinian Journalist: The Arab And Muslim World Is Mired In Backwardness, Light Years Behind The World’s Rapid Development – Middle East Media…
Posted: at 9:26 pm
In his February 2, 2022 column in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, journalist 'Abd Al-Ghani Salameh contrasted the scientific breakthroughs taking place in the world today with the situation of the Arab and Muslim world, which he said is mired in backwardness, chaos and internal strife, stemming from an obsolete thinking and hostility towards the West. If this situation persists, he said, the Arab peoples may find themselves in danger of extinction.
'Abd Al-Ghani Salameh (Source: Hadfnews.ps)
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
"Over the last two decades, scientists have made great strides in all areas. Some [of the developments] changed our lives completely, while others brought about a smaller change, but all of them had a significant impact on the future of humanity, laying the foundations for a completely new era and a historic turning point. Just as the steam engine launched the Industrial Revolution and the discovery of electricity led to the invention of countless apparatuses, the internet launched the era of the information and media revolution.
"The achievements of this [20-year] period, a very short time in the life of humanity, are even more important than the achievements of the previous eras. Their significance lies in their potential to bring change, just like the earlier inventions and discoveries
"The following is a summary of the most important achievements [of the last two decades]. The most significant, and also the most expensive, was the establishment of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, on the border between Switzerland and France, built through the most extensive international scientific cooperation since [the construction of] the international space station. [Housing] the world's largest particle accelerator, 27 km long, it is meant to provide a better understanding of the emergence of the cosmos by simulating the Big Bang
"In the realm of space [exploration], the giant James Webb Telescope was recently launched into orbit and will replace the Hubble Telescope. It is the fruit of 25 years of labor by scientists from NASA and the Canadian and European space agencies, and it is hoped to provide answers to many questions that have preoccupied humanity Scientists have also discovered the closest planet to earth that may be hospitable to life, although it is very far away, and a black hole has been photographed for the first time, in the center of a faraway galaxy. The Phoenix space probe landed on the surface of Mars and took detailed photos of the Red Planet while the Voyager I Space probe continues its journey to the edges of the cosmos
"The most important medical development, which will take biology to another level, is the complete mapping of the human genome, and the discovery of the molecular structure of human [DNA]. This breakthrough allowed the development of synthetic biology, and scientists have managed to create the first living organism using synthetic DNA Also in the field of medicine, American and Japanese scientists managed to clone human stem cells from skin cells, in a way that does not violate any ethical principles and ensures that the body will not reject them. Using these stem cells, they developed the first complete cure for diabetes. The first artificial heart was developed as well as well as a smart prosthetic hand that can be controlled by the mind.
"In the realm of technology, there were incredible breakthroughs in the area of carbon nanofibers, artificial intelligence and robotics; the 3D printer and Bluetooth technology were developed as well as smart surfaces, virtual keyboards, touch screens, smartphones, social media and audiovisual media. Ecommerce is thriving, and distributers like Amazon and Alibaba have emerged. Electric and hybrid cars, as well as self-driving cars, are being made, Google has mapped every part of the [planet] and all its road systems using GPS, and the G5 internet has arrived
"If we go into detail, we will find dozens of additional important inventions and discoveries. But more important is that we [Arabs] understand our situation compared to the world. Where do we stand, and where are we headed? How far can we go?... It is important to give some profound thought to our local reality and remember our [own] achievements in the last  years, [namely] the growing corruption of the Arab regimes, which triggered the Arab Spring revolutions that produced a reality no less corrupt. Throughout these years and before them, we have been mired in backwardness, chaos, civil war, bombings, terror, tribal and sectarian conflict and the reduplication of totalitarian regimes. This is due to the fact that we refuse to even acknowledge the problem and are unable to understand its essence, for we are trapped in an obsolete Salafi mentality and are hostile to the entire world, refusing to integrate in the [global] human culture. The truth, gentlemen, is that we Arabs and Muslims are isolated from the world and from reality, light years removed from the train of progress. True, many recent inventions and discoveries were produced by Arab scientists, but they were made in laboratories and research centers located in the 'infidel' West. If we stay on this course, we will be among the peoples in danger of extinction."
 Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), February 2, 2022.
Posted: at 9:26 pm
A HYPERGIANT star is dying and researchers have been studying the phenomenon closely.
Astronomers at the University of Arizona have developed a model to track the activity ofa red hypergiant star.
Dubbed VY Canis Majoris, this star may be the largest in our Milky Way galaxy.
In fact, hypergiants are so large that they can measure up to 10,000 times the distance between the Earth andSunin diameter.
As of late, the lifespan of these stars has been a heated topic of debate particularly where the final phase of their lives is concerned.
Typically, stars explode into a supernova at the end of their life, however, there isn't any evidence to prove that hypergiants do.
Some have theorized that instead these stars likely collapse into a black hole.
Still, scientists are unsure about what causes these stars to evolve into black holes.
To find out more, the team from UA has been observing VY Canis Majoris, which is just 3,009 light-years away from Earth.
The team presented some of their findings on June 13 at the 240thmeeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, California.
"We are particularly interested in what hypergiant stars do at the end of their lives," Ambesh Singh, a University of Arizona doctoral student in chemistrysaid in a statementabout the work.
"People used to think these massive stars simply evolve intosupernovaeexplosions, but we are no longer sure about that."
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, radio telescope in Chile, the team tried to gather as much data on the star as possible especially its arched and knotted shape.
They looked at molecules in ejected matter from the hypergiant star and then created maps of sulfur oxide, sulfur dioxide, silicon oxide, phosphorus oxide, and sodium chloride using data from Nasa's Hubble telescope.
"With these observations, we can now put these on maps on the sky," Dr. Ziurys said in a statement.
"Until now, only small portions of this enormous structure had been studied, but you cant understand the mass loss and how these big stars die unless you look at the entire region.
"Thats why we wanted to create a complete image."
The team is still sorting out much of their data, and they hope to collect more that can help them better understand these massive stars and their deaths.
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Largest star in Milky Way is DYING and could collapse into a black hole... - The US Sun