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The James Webb Space Telescope and stuff


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Back when Hubble (the astronomer) was doing his work, negatives were the norm. 


Here is one of Hubble's photographic plates of the center of M33, with Cepheid variables marked. If you look closely (and if the original resolution has been preserved from plate to journal to scanner to web page to your computer), you will see that the gray "nebulosity" is broken up into little specks that are individual stars. (The plate is a negative, as was the convention for publishing results -- the stars look black and the sky white) (From ApJ, 63, 236, 1926)



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On 12/27/2022 at 3:44 AM, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

The James Webb Space Telescope resumed science operations Dec. 20, after Webb’s instruments intermittently went into safe mode beginning Dec. 7 due to a software fault triggered in the attitude control system

-from the Blog 

I missed this information, I thought it was not published.

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From these images (shown at left), the team searched for faint galaxies that are visible in the infrared but whose spectra abruptly cut off at a critical wavelength known as the Lyman break. Webb’s NIRSpec instrument then yielded a precise measurement of each galaxy’s redshift (shown at right). Four of the galaxies studied are particularly special, as they were revealed to be at an unprecedentedly early epoch. These galaxies date back to less than 400 million years after the big bang, when the universe was only 2% of its current age



Oh - and if you are wondering about the Lyman Break: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman-break_galaxy

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These first observational results from an Earth-size, rocky planet open the door to many future possibilities for studying rocky planet atmospheres with Webb,

The team observed LHS 475b as it transited twice in front of its host star, a red dwarf that the planet orbits every two days. The first transit occurred on Aug. 31, 2022, and the second one happened four days later, on Sept. 4. Lustig-Yaeger's team recorded that 0.1% of the star's light was being blocked by the planet over the course of its 40-minute transits. From that, the team calculated that the planet is almost the same size as Earth, with roughly 99% of its diameter.  




Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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JWST keeps revealing weirder and weirder stuff about the universe.


One galaxy is apparently traveling so fast relative to the others that it is generating a massive shock wave.


NGC 7318b, violently intrudes into the group at a relative speed of roughly 800 km/second. At that speed, a trip from Earth to the Moon would take just eight minutes. “As this intruder crashes into the group, it is colliding with an old gas streamer that likely was caused by a previous interaction between two of the other galaxies, and is causing a giant shockwave to form,” said Philip Appleton, an astronomer and senior scientist at Caltech’s IPAC, and lead investigator on the project. “As the shockwave passes through this clumpy streamer, it is creating a highly turbulent, or unsteady, cooling layer, and it’s in the regions affected by this violent activity that we’re seeing unexpected structures and the recycling of molecular hydrogen gas. This is important because molecular hydrogen forms the raw material that may ultimately form stars, so understanding its fate will tell us more about the evolution of Stephan’s Quintet and galaxies in general.”

ALMA and JWST Reveal Galactic Shock is Shaping Stephan’s Quintet in Mysterious Ways - National Radio Astronomy Observatory (nrao.edu)


Lighter fare article about the paper above:

Webb Telescope Finds Massive Shock Wave Wreaking Havoc Among 5 Galaxies (msn.com)


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...


Webb captured images of the six massive galaxies. One of them (bottom left) could contain as many stars as our Milky Way galaxy, but it is 30 times more compact

"The revelation that massive galaxy formation began extremely early in the history of the universe upends what many of us had thought was settled science,” Leja said. “We’ve been informally calling these objects ‘universe breakers’ — and they have been living up to their name so far.”

These objects are way more massive than anyone expected,” said study coauthor Joel Leja, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, in a statement. “We expected only to find tiny, young, baby galaxies at this point in time, but we’ve discovered galaxies as mature as our own in what was previously understood to be the dawn of the universe.”

The galaxies are so massive that they conflict with 99% of models representing early galaxies in the universe, which means scientists need to rethink how galaxies formed and evolved. The current theory suggests that galaxies began as small clouds of stars and dust that grew over time



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At the JWST Early Science Conference back in December, they teased the results for the sub-Neptune GJ 1214b. During a 38 hour long observation, JWST was able to observe the day side of the planet right before it passed behind its star and collect information on its atmospheric composition, which has been a pain to do for more than a decade due to a thick layer of clouds/hazes. The lead authors of this investigation said that they still have work to do on the data, but have found evidence for water and methane, and the data seems to show that the atmosphere is enriched in compounds heavier than hydrogen and helium. The planet's bulk density is compatible with either a H/He atmosphere over a rocky core and small water mantle or a gigantic water mantle with a steam atmosphere, and it seems to me that the preliminary JWST results are pointing towards the latter. I'm quite excited for the paper on this investigation. GJ 1214b was one of those early exoplanets that really got me excited about and into the field.

Also GJ 1214b is one of twenty exoplanets targeted by JWST to be in the IAU's third NameExoWorlds campaign. Some of the name submissions are available on YouTube. Two Greek organizations submitted names (Laurus and Bellerophone), but only one name submission is accepted per country, so only one has made it to the ongoing final vote. Which one did is unknown. I do wish the IAU would allow multiple names per country because it didn't seem like there were a ton of good ones being submitted, and some planets may get more submissions than others. 

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  • 3 weeks later...


luminous, hot star Wolf-Rayet 124 (WR 124) is prominent at the center of the James Webb Space Telescope’s composite image combining near-infrared and mid-infrared wavelengths of light from Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera and Mid-Infrared Instrument




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