July 14, 2024

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Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant supernova in history

Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant supernova in history

Astronomers find the oldest and most distant supernova using the James Webb Space Telescope (European Press)

A group of astronomers has made unprecedented progress in identifying the planet Supernova The oldest and farthest from Earth known so far. Using advanced tools from James Webb Space TelescopeResearchers have discovered supernovae located at distances never seen before. These results, recently presented at a meeting American Astronomical Societyopen a window to Early universeWhich allows scientists to examine cosmic events that have occurred more than 12 billion years.

The James Webb Telescope was able to identify some 80 supernova In a small portion of the sky, many of them lie at distances and times when the universe was only about two billion years old, providing a unique window into the past. According to Justin Birrell, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, “Webb is a large telescope, about 10 times larger than Hubble in terms of light-collecting areaThanks to this ability, Webb can detect longer wavelengths of light that indicate the presence of supernovae.

Telescope data revealed the presence of these Bursts of stars In a small region of space, it is surrounded by about 80 objects whose brightness changes with time. Most of these objects, known as transients, are the result of stellar explosions. Webb’s sensitivity and size allowed it to capture what other telescopes could not. Harvard astronomer Edo Berger commented: “It is great to see that these supernovae can be recovered in Webb data“.

Webb discovers about 80 supernovae in a small part of the early sky (Europe Press)

The researchers looked at multiple images Webb took over the course of a year to look for light sources that appeared or disappeared, known as transients. This technique helped them discover not only dozens of supernovae, but also determine their age from light emitted billions of years ago. Webb can detect these supernovae thanks to a phenomenon called cosmic redshift, where the wavelength of light expands over time and falls in the infrared spectrum, which is invisible to the human eye but detectable with the right telescope.

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“We knew these faint, distant supernovae existed, but we had never been able to see them before,” Birrell added. Red shift It varies with the time of the universe; For example, a redshift of 2 indicates that a supernova occurred when the universe was about 3.3 billion years old. The redshift 3.6 supernova, one of the most recently discovered, formed when the universe was about 1.8 billion years old, making it the oldest ever, at about 12 billion years old.

Birrell points out that the data provided by Webb provide a fascinating picture of the early universe: “The universe is about 14 billion years old, but these supernovae belong to an era when the universe was barely a teenager in human terms.“.

In addition to revealing the age of the universe, these discoveries allow astronomers to investigate The nature of the early universeHow stars formed and what happened when they exploded. Starbursts are brighter and therefore easier to spot than more distant stars. Webb even discovered a Type 1a supernova, which is particularly bright and useful for measuring long distances in space.

Most of the objects found are the result of stellar explosions (Europe Press)

Professor Ido Berger from Harvard University highlights the importance of these findings: “Finding these high-redshift supernovae is important for cosmological measurements“, as well as to study phenomena such as dark energy.

Birrell also highlights that without these stellar explosions, life as we know it would not be possible, because the essential elements for life on Earth would have been scattered into the universe through these explosions when the universe was much younger.

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a Supernova he Starburst Extremely powerful that occurs during the final stages of Star evolution.

The oldest supernova with a redshift of 3.6 (EFE) has been identified.

This event releases a large amount of… energyMost of them were expelled Star material into space and create a wonderful emission of a light Which can last for weeks and even months.

A supernova could outshine everyone galaxy For a short period and plays a crucial role in dispersal Chemical elementsContributing to the formation New stars and planets.