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The James Webb Telescope solves “one of the most puzzling questions” about the early universe

The James Webb Telescope solves “one of the most puzzling questions” about the early universe

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Using the James Webb Telescope, researchers detected light that should have been invisible. A pioneering discovery solves the mystery.

CAMBRIDGE – The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has already revealed many secrets of the universe and raised new questions since its launch into space. Callum Whitten, researcher Reports nowThe James Webb Space Telescope has solved “one of the most puzzling questions” in space. It is a special type of light that was discovered at the beginning of the universe, although according to current theory it should not be visible. This light comes from hydrogen atoms from the early days of the universe.

Witten, who works at the University of Cambridge and studied the mystery with a team of researchers, explains why the light is thought to be invisible: “It should have passed entirely through the original neutral gas that formed after the Big Bang.” The results of the research group were In the specialized magazine Nature astronomy published.

“Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the Great Escape of this unexplained emission,” Witten said. So how can the light that existed in the early days of the universe be perceived today?

These images from the Webb Space Telescope show the galaxy EGSY8p7, which shows an unusual light emission. © ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), M. Bagley (UT Austin), R. Larson (UT Austin), A. Pagan (STScI), C. Witten, M. Zamani (ESA/ web)

The James Webb Space Telescope finds a convincing explanation

Witten's research team was able to come close to answering this question using the James Webb Telescope, in which the American space organization NASA and the European Space Agency participate. While the Hubble Telescope could only see one large galaxy at the point in space where the light was detected, the James Webb Space Telescope saw several smaller galaxies — and put the search on the right track.

“Webb sees a cluster of small, interacting galaxies, and this detection has greatly impacted our understanding of the unexpected hydrogen emission from some of the first galaxies,” explains co-author Sergio Martin Alvarez of Stanford University.

James Webb Space Telescope
Artist's concept of the James Webb Space Telescope in space. © Adriana Manrique Gutierrez/DPA

Following this discovery, computer simulations were performed to further investigate the physical processes. Witten, Martin Alvarez and their team found that the galaxy merger led to a rapid accretion of stellar mass. This led to a strong emission of hydrogen and facilitated the escape of this radiation. The high merger rate of smaller galaxies observed for the first time provides the research team with a compelling explanation for the mystery of “unexplained” hydrogen emission. Another mystery of the universe has been solved. (unpaid bill)

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