For the first time, new images from the James Webb Space Telescope have revealed galaxies with stellar lattices when the universe was a quarter of its current age.
Stellar bars are elongated features of stars that extend from the centers of galaxies to their outer disks. They push gas into the central regions, fueling star formation.
The University of Texas said in a statement that the discovery of barred galaxies requires scientists to completely adjust their theories of galaxy evolution, noting that the Hubble Space Telescope has never detected bars at such young ages.
For example, while the galaxy EGS-23205 appears fuzzy in the Hubble image, the Webb image reveals a spiral galaxy with a clearer star line.
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The James Webb Space Telescope has a larger mirror, which gives it the ability to collect more light and allows it to see farther with higher resolution.
As he observed Longer infrared wavelengths than Hubbleit can also see dust better.
Shardha Jogi, a professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, described the data from the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science in a statement: “I took one look at this data and said, ‘We’re going to throw everything else away!'” Research (CEERS).
Another barred galaxy, EGS-24268, is also located about 11 billion years ago, making the two barred galaxies much more distant than previously discovered.
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In an article in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team of researchers singled out these galaxies and showed examples of four other galaxies from 8 billion years ago.
Two undergraduate students played a key role by visually inspecting hundreds of galaxies and searching for those that could be analyzed with a more rigorous mathematical approach.
Bars also help the formation of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies and direct the gas part of the path.
The presence of these bars complicates theoretical models, the university says, and the team will test different models in additional work.
“The discovery of these early bars means that galaxy evolution models now have a new path through the bar to accelerate the formation of new stars at early times,” Jogi said.