Jump to content

Webb sees carbon-rich dust grains in the first billion years of cosmic time


Recommended Posts

Galaxy JADES-GS-z6 in the GOODS-S field: JADES (NIRCam image)

For the first time, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has observed the chemical signature of carbon-rich dust grains at redshift ~ 7 [1], which is roughly equivalent to one billion years after the birth of the Universe [2]. Similar observational signatures have been observed in the much more recent Universe, attributed to complex, carbon-based molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). It is not thought likely, however, that PAHs would have developed within the first billion years of cosmic time.

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Similar Topics

    • By NASA
      NASA News Briefing on Intuitive Machines' First Lunar Landing
    • By NASA
      5 Min Read Webb Finds Evidence for Neutron Star at Heart of Young Supernova Remnant
      The James Webb Space Telescope has observed the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star. Credits:
      NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, C. Fransson (Stockholm University), M. Matsuura (Cardiff University), M. J. Barlow (University College London), P. J. Kavanagh (Maynooth University), J. Larsson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology) NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, was a core-collapse supernova, meaning the compacted remains at its core formed either a neutron star or a black hole. Evidence for such a compact object has long been sought, and while indirect evidence for the presence of a neutron star has previously been found, this is the first time that the effects of high-energy emission from the probable young neutron star have been detected.
      Supernovae – the explosive final death throes of some massive stars – blast out within hours, and the brightness of the explosion peaks within a few months. The remains of the exploding star will continue to evolve at a rapid rate over the following decades, offering a rare opportunity for astronomers to study a key astronomical process in real time.
      Supernova 1987A
      The supernova SN 1987A occurred 160,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was first observed on Earth in February 1987, and its brightness peaked in May of that year. It was the first supernova that could be seen with the naked eye since Kepler’s Supernova was observed in 1604.
      About two hours prior to the first visible-light observation of SN 1987A, three observatories around the world detected a burst of neutrinos lasting only a few seconds. The two different types of observations were linked to the same supernova event, and provided important evidence to inform the theory of how core-collapse supernovae take place. This theory included the expectation that this type of supernova would form a neutron star or a black hole. Astronomers have searched for evidence for one or the other of these compact objects at the center of the expanding remnant material ever since.
      Indirect evidence for the presence of a neutron star at the center of the remnant has been found in the past few years, and observations of much older supernova remnants –such as the Crab Nebula – confirm that neutron stars are found in many supernova remnants. However, no direct evidence of a neutron star in the aftermath of SN 1987A (or any other such recent supernova explosion) had been observed, until now.
      Image: Supernova 1987A
      The James Webb Space Telescope has observed the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a well-known and recently-observed supernova known as SN 1987A. At left is a NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image released in 2023. The image at top right shows light from singly ionized argon (Argon II) captured by the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS) mode of MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). The image at bottom right shows light from multiply ionized argon captured by the NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph). Both instruments show a strong signal from the center of the supernova remnant. This indicated to the science team that there is a source of high-energy radiation there, most likely a neutron star. NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, C. Fransson (Stockholm University), M. Matsuura (Cardiff University), M. J. Barlow (University College London), P. J. Kavanagh (Maynooth University), J. Larsson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology) Claes Fransson of Stockholm University, and the lead author on this study, explained: “From theoretical models of SN 1987A, the 10-second burst of neutrinos observed just before the supernova implied that a neutron star or black hole was formed in the explosion. But we have not observed any compelling signature of such a newborn object from any supernova explosion. With this observatory, we have now found direct evidence for emission triggered by the newborn compact object, most likely a neutron star.”
      Webb’s Observations of SN 1987A
      Webb began science observations in July 2022, and the Webb observations behind this work were taken on July 16, making the SN 1987A remnant one of the first objects observed by Webb. The team used the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS) mode of Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), which members of the same team helped to develop. The MRS is a type of instrument known as an Integral Field Unit (IFU).
      IFUs are able to image an object and take a spectrum of it at the same time. An IFU forms a spectrum at each pixel, allowing observers to see spectroscopic differences across the object. Analysis of the Doppler shift of each spectrum also permits the evaluation of the velocity at each position.
      Spectral analysis of the results showed a strong signal due to ionized argon from the center of the ejected material that surrounds the original site of SN 1987A. Subsequent observations using Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) IFU at shorter wavelengths found even more heavily ionized chemical elements, particularly five times ionized argon (meaning argon atoms that have lost five of their 18 electrons). Such ions require highly energetic photons to form, and those photons have to come from somewhere.
      “To create these ions that we observed in the ejecta, it was clear that there had to be a source of high-energy radiation in the center of the SN 1987A remnant,” Fransson said. “In the paper we discuss different possibilities, finding that only a few scenarios are likely, and all of these involve a newly born neutron star.”
      More observations are planned this year, with Webb and ground-based telescopes. The research team hopes ongoing study will provide more clarity about exactly what is happening in the heart of the SN 1987A remnant. These observations will hopefully stimulate the development of more detailed models, ultimately enabling astronomers to better understand not just SN 1987A, but all core-collapse supernovae.
      These findings were published in the journal Science.
      The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
      Downloads
      Right click the images in this article to open a larger version in a new tab/window.
      Download full resolution images for this article from the Space Telescope Science Institute.
      Media Contacts
      Rob Gutro – rob.gutro@nasa.gov
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Christine Pulliam – cpulliam@stsci.edu
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
      Related Information
      Star LifeCycle
      Star Types
      More Webb News – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/latestnews/
      More Webb Images – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/multimedia/images/
      Webb Mission Page – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/
      Related For Kids
      What is a supernova?
      What is the Webb Telescope?
      SpacePlace for Kids
      En Español
      Ciencia de la NASA
      NASA en español 
      Space Place para niños
      Keep Exploring Related Topics
      James Webb Space Telescope


      Webb is the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It studies every phase in the…


      Stars



      Stars Stories



      Universe


      Discover the universe: Learn about the history of the cosmos, what it’s made of, and so much more.

      Share








      Details
      Last Updated Feb 22, 2024 Editor Marty McCoy Related Terms
      Astrophysics Goddard Space Flight Center James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Neutron Stars Science & Research Stars Supernovae The Universe View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, occurred 160 000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. SN 1987A was observed on Earth in 1987, the first supernova that was visible to the naked eye since 1604 — before the advent of telescopes.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft approaches the International Space Station on May 20, 2022. Credit: NASA As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the agency opened media accreditation for the launch of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The mission will be the company’s first Starliner spacecraft mission with crew.
      NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will launch aboard Starliner on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and dock at the orbiting laboratory, where they will stay for up to two weeks. Liftoff is currently targeted for mid-April 2024 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
      The mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system, including launch, docking, and return to Earth in the desert of the western United States.
      Following a successful mission, NASA will begin the final process of certifying Starliner and systems for crewed missions to the space station.
      U.S. media may apply separately for a photo opportunity during the rollout of the Starliner spacecraft from Boeing’s Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The operational activity is scheduled to take place in early April.
      Media accreditation deadlines are as follows:
      International media without U.S. citizenship interested in covering the launch must apply by 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 14 U.S. media interested in a photo opportunity of Starliner rollout must apply by 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 21 U.S. media interested in covering the launch must apply for credentials by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, April 7 All accreditation requests must be submitted online at:
      https://media.ksc.nasa.gov
      NASA’s media accreditation policy is online. For questions about accreditation or special logistical requests, please email: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. Requests for space for satellite trucks, tents, or electrical connections are due by Monday, April 15.
      For other questions, please contact the newsroom at NASA Kennedy: 321-867-2468.
      Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo: 321-501-8425, o Messod Bendayan: 256-930-1371.
      NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry through a public-private partnership to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil. The goal of the program is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation on space station missions, which will allow for additional research time.
      For more information about the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
      -end-
      Joshua Finch / Julian Coltre
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / julian.n.coltre@nasa.gov
      Steve Siceloff / Danielle Sempsrott
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-867-2468
      steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov / danielle.c.sempsrott@nasa.gov
      Leah Cheshier
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      leah.d.cheshier@nasa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Feb 21, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      NASA Headquarters Astronauts Commercial Space Commercial Space Programs Humans in Space Johnson Space Center Kennedy Space Center View the full article
    • By NASA
      Dr. Natasha Batalha, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, says collaborating with her teams is one of the best parts of her job.UC Santa Cruz, UC Regents Science is often portrayed as a solitary affair, where discoveries are made by lone geniuses toiling in isolation. But Dr. Natasha Batalha, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, says solving problems with the people around her is one of the best parts of her job.
       “Oh, man, working with people is all I do!” said Batalha, whose current research involves using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study exoplanets, planets outside our solar system that orbit other stars.
      Batalha’s work explores hot, Jupiter-like exoplanets; smaller, rocky exoplanets more similar to Earth; and brown dwarfs, mysterious objects smaller than a star but huge compared to the biggest planets. A single question has driven her since she was a kid: “Does life exist beyond Earth?”
      It’s a lofty question, bigger than any one scientist. And that’s the point.
      “I love being part of a larger community,” she said, “We’re working together to try to solve this question that people have been asking for centuries.”
      However, the particular joy of belonging wasn’t always present in Batalha’s life.
      When she was 10, her family moved from Brazil to the U.S., where she was met with culture shock, pressure to assimilate, and a language barrier. She thinks the latter is partly why she gravitated toward the universal language of math.
      Eventually, her interests and strengths took shape around astronomy. When she chose to study physics in college, followed by a dual PhD in astronomy and astrobiology, her parents – who are also scientists – helped fill in for the community she was otherwise lacking.
      “In high school, I watched female students drop out of my physics classes,” Batalha said. “The honors physics track in college was devoid of women and people of color. I didn’t feel I had a community in my college classes.”
      Her mother, Natalie Batalha, is an astronomer who served as project scientist for NASA’s Kepler space telescope– the mission that taught us there are more planets than stars. Natasha’s father is a LatinX physicist. Both her parents had already faced similar challenges in their careers, and having their example to look at of people who had successfully overcome those barriers helped her push on.  
      “I identify as female and LatinX, which are both underrepresented groups in STEM,” she said, “but I also have a ton of privilege because my parents are in the field. That gave me a dual perspective on how powerful community is.”
      I love being part of a larger community. We’re working together to try to solve this question that people have been asking for centuries.
      Natasha Batalha
      NASA Astronomer
      Since then, empowering her own science community has been a focus of Batalha’s work.
      She builds open-source tools, like computer programs for interpreting data, that are available to all. They help scientists use Webb’s exoplanet data to study what climates they may have, the behavior of clouds in their atmospheres, and the chemistry at work there.
      “I saw how limiting closed toolsets could be for the community, when only an ‘inner circle’ had access to them,” Batalha said. “So, I wanted to create new tools that would put everyone on the same footing.”
      Batalha herself recently used Webb to explore the skies of exoplanet WASP-39 b, a hot gas giant orbiting a star 700 light-years away. She is part of the team that found carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide there, marking the first time either was detected in an exoplanet atmosphere. Now, she is turning to the difficult-to-discern characteristics of smaller, cooler planets.
      Dr. Natasha Batalha has been hooked on the search for life beyond Earth since elementary school.UC Santa Cruz, UC Regents Batalha says she’s exactly where her 6th-grade self imagined she would be. In elementary school, she read a biography of NASA astronaut Sally Ride and was hooked by an idea it contained: that in 20 years the kids reading those words could be the ones pioneering the search for life on Mars.
      Today’s youth belong to the Artemis Generation, who will explore farther than people have ever gone before. The Artemis program will send the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface. Missions over time will build a presence at the Moon to unlock a new era of science and prepare for human missions to Mars and beyond. Along the way, scientists will continue to search for signs of life beyond Earth, an endeavor building on the work of many generations and relying on those in the future to carry on the search. 
      “That’s something really rewarding about my work at NASA,” she said. “These questions have been asked throughout human history and, by joining the effort to answer them, you’re taking the baton for a while, before passing it on to someone else.”
      View the full article
  • Check out these Videos

×
×
  • Create New...