May 18, 2024

New JWST Image Shows That Grand Spiral Galaxies had Already Formed 11 Billion Years ago

For the very first time today, photos from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) exposed that excellent bars existed in some galaxies as far back as 11 billion years ago. Stellar bars are a specifying feature of about two-thirds of all spiral galaxies in deep space, including our own Milky Way. The discovery has implications for astronomers understanding of stellar evolution, showing that bars form really rapidly and may persist for much of a galaxys lifespan, influencing its shape and structure.

Excellent bars are regions of extreme star developments that radiate out from a galaxys core. Through the motion of inner orbiting stars, dust, and gas clouds, they construct up as a wave of thick material that perpetuates itself and spreads out slowly external while pulling basic material inwards. These regions become outstanding nurseries that produce new stars at a fast rate.
Six disallowed galaxies as seen by JSWT, as they would have looked in the early universe, in between 8.4 and 11 billion years ago (Gyr). Credit: NASA/CEERS/University of Texas at Austin.
The new JWST images, presented by The University of Texas at Austin on January 5th, reveal six barred spiral galaxies over 8.4 million years old, two of which are older than 11 billion years (the oldest galaxy ever seen is around 13.4 billion years old).

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For the very first time this week, pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) revealed that outstanding bars were present in some galaxies as far back as 11 billion years ago. Outstanding bars are a specifying feature of about two-thirds of all spiral galaxies in the Universe, including our own Milky Way. The discovery has implications for astronomers understanding of stellar evolution, suggesting that bars form really quickly and might persist for much of a galaxys life-span, influencing its shape and structure.

The majority of these galaxies were formerly imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, like EGS-23205, imagined listed below. (EGS stands for Extended Groth Strip, a region of the sky that has been extensively images and studied by global surveys). In the Hubble images, the bars are mostly obscured.
Galaxy EGS23205, as seen by Hubble (left, taken in the near-infrared filter), and JWST (right, mid-infrared image). Credit: NASA/CEERS/University of Texas at Austin.
JWST has a benefit over Hubble in observing extremely old and remote galaxies, partly because its bigger mirror can collect more light from remote, dim items. However it also has an advantage due to its use of infrared rather than optical wavelengths. Light from older and more distant things is red-shifted along the electromagnetic spectrum, suggesting that JWSTs detectors can select them up much better than Hubble can.
Infrared is likewise extremely reliable at seeing through gas and dust, allowing JWST to choose the stellar nurseries in the bars which would otherwise be obscured.
Shardha Jogee, professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, discussed the ramifications of these early forming bars for designs of stellar advancement:
The place of the Extended Groth Strip (EGS) in the night sky. The galaxies newly observed by JWST lie within the EGS. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Davis (University of California, Berkeley), S. Faber (University of California, Santa Cruz), and A. Koekemoer (STScI).
” Bars resolve the supply chain issue in galaxies,” Jogee says. “Just like we require to bring basic material from the harbor to inland factories that make brand-new products, a bar strongly transfers gas into the central area where the gas is quickly converted into new stars at a rate generally 10 to 100 times faster than in the rest of the galaxy … This discovery of early bars means galaxy advancement models now have a brand-new path via bars to accelerate the production of new stars at early dates.”
The new images are part of the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS), and their initial findings have actually been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
JWST is ushering in an interesting time for astronomers, and this was an appealing start to 2023.
” I took one look at these data, and I said, We are dropping whatever else!” says Jogee.
Find out more:
“James Webb Telescope Reveals Milky Way-like Galaxies in Young Universe,” UT Austin.
Yuchen Guo et al., “First Look at z > > 1 Bars in the Rest-Frame Near-Infrared with JWST Early CEERS Imaging,” ArXiv Preprint.
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Excellent bars are regions of intense star formations that radiate out from a galaxys core. JWST has an advantage over Hubble in observing remote and incredibly old galaxies, partially due to the fact that its bigger mirror can gather more light from far-off, dim things.