James Webb captures a spectacular image of a bright galaxy

One of the first spectacular images taken by NASA’s new multi-million pound James Webb Space Telescope captured the first galaxies in the universe.

Now, the first analyzes have focused on one of these galaxies nine billion light-years away from Earth, and have revealed that it shines with some of the oldest known star clusters, dating from shortly after the Big Bang.

These dense clusters of millions of stars may be relics containing the earliest and oldest stars in the universe.

Dubbed ‘the Sparkler galaxy’, it got its name from the compact objects that appear as tiny yellow and red dots surrounding it, which researchers refer to as ‘flashes’.

They assumed that the flashes could be young star clusters in active formation, born three billion years after the Big Bang at the peak of star formation, or old globular clusters.

Globular clusters are ancient collections of stars from a galaxy’s infancy and contain clues about its early stages of formation and growth.

From their initial analysis of 12 of these compact objects, the experts established that five of them are not just globular clusters but are among the oldest known.

Coming into focus: One of the first spectacular images taken by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope saw it capture the first galaxies in the universe.  Now, the first analyzes have concentrated on one of these, the 'Sparkler galaxy' (pictured) nine billion light years distant from Earth.

Coming into focus: One of the first spectacular images taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope saw it capture the first galaxies in the universe. Now, the first analyzes have concentrated on one of these, the ‘Sparkler galaxy’ (pictured) nine billion light years distant from Earth.

Their investigation revealed that the galaxy is aglow with some of the oldest known star clusters.

Their investigation revealed that the galaxy is aglow with some of the oldest known star clusters.

Their investigation revealed that the galaxy is aglow with some of the oldest known star clusters.

Experts from the Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey studied the Webb Deep Field image

Experts from the Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey studied the Webb Deep Field image

Experts from the Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey studied the Webb Deep Field image

The research was carried out by experts from the Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey (CANUCS), who studied the deep-field image from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

“JWST was built to find the first stars and galaxies and to help us understand the origins of complexity in the universe, such as chemical elements and the building blocks of life,” said Lamiya Mowla of the University of Toronto and co-Lead author of the study.

“This discovery in Webb’s First Deep Field already provides detailed insight into the earliest phase of star formation, confirming the incredible power of JWST.”

The Milky Way galaxy has about 150 globular clusters, and exactly how and when these dense star clusters formed is not well known.

Astronomers know that globular clusters can be extremely old, but it is incredibly difficult to measure their ages.

Using very distant globular clusters to date the age of the first stars in distant galaxies has not been done before and is only possible with Webb.

“These newly identified clusters formed close to the first time it was possible to form stars,” Mowla said.

‘Because the Sparkler galaxy is much further away than our own Milky Way, it is easier to determine the ages of its globular clusters.

“We are looking at the flare as it was nine billion years ago, when the universe was only 4.5 billion years old, looking at something that happened a long time ago.

The Milky Way galaxy has about 150 globular clusters, and exactly how and when these dense star clusters formed is not well known.

The Milky Way galaxy has about 150 globular clusters, and exactly how and when these dense star clusters formed is not well known.

The Milky Way galaxy has about 150 globular clusters, and exactly how and when these dense star clusters formed is not well known.

From their initial analysis of 12 of the compact objects in the Sparkler galaxy, the experts established that five of them are not just globular clusters but are among the oldest known.

From their initial analysis of 12 of the compact objects in the Sparkler galaxy, the experts established that five of them are not just globular clusters but are among the oldest known.

From their initial analysis of 12 of the compact objects in the Sparkler galaxy, the experts established that five of them are not just globular clusters but are among the oldest known.

Until now, astronomers couldn't see the surrounding compact objects of the Sparkler galaxy with Hubble.

Until now, astronomers couldn't see the surrounding compact objects of the Sparkler galaxy with Hubble.

Until now, astronomers couldn’t see the surrounding compact objects of the Sparkler galaxy with Hubble.

“Think of it like guessing a person’s age based on their appearance: It’s easy to tell the difference between a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old, but hard to tell the difference between a 50-year-old and a 55-year-old.”

Kartheik G. Iyer of the University of Toronto and co-lead author of the study said: “Looking at the first JWST images and discovering old globular clusters around distant galaxies was an incredible moment, not possible with previous ones.” Images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

“Because we were able to observe the flares over a range of wavelengths, we were able to model them and better understand their physical properties, such as how old they are and how many stars they contain.

“We hope that the knowledge that globular clusters can be observed from such great distances with JWST will further stimulate science and the search for similar objects.”

Until now, astronomers couldn’t see the surrounding compact objects of the Sparkler galaxy with Hubble.

This changed with Webb’s increased resolution and sensitivity, revealing the tiny dots surrounding the galaxy for the first time in its first deep-field image.

The Sparkler galaxy is special because it is magnified by a factor of 100 due to an effect called gravitational lensing, where the foreground galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 distorts what is behind it, like a giant magnifying glass.

Additionally, gravitational lensing produces three separate Sparkler images, allowing astronomers to study the galaxy in greater detail.

Dubbed 'the Sparkler galaxy', it got its name from the compact objects that appear as tiny yellow and red dots surrounding it, which CANUCS researchers (pictured) refer to as 'sparkles'

Dubbed 'the Sparkler galaxy', it got its name from the compact objects that appear as tiny yellow and red dots surrounding it, which CANUCS researchers (pictured) refer to as 'sparkles'

Dubbed ‘the Sparkler galaxy’, it got its name from the compact objects that appear as tiny yellow and red dots surrounding it, which CANUCS researchers (pictured) refer to as ‘sparkles’

Webb's increased resolution and sensitivity revealed the tiny 'flare' dots surrounding the galaxy for the first time in its first deep-field image.

Webb's increased resolution and sensitivity revealed the tiny 'flare' dots surrounding the galaxy for the first time in its first deep-field image.

Webb’s increased resolution and sensitivity revealed the tiny ‘flare’ dots surrounding the galaxy for the first time in its first deep-field image.

“Our Sparkler study highlights the tremendous power of combining the unique capabilities of JWST with the natural magnification offered by gravitational lensing,” said CANUCS team leader Chris Willott of the National Council’s Herzberg Research Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. research.

“The team is excited for more discoveries to come when JWST looks at the CANUCS galaxy clusters next month.”

The researchers combined new data from JWST’s near-infrared camera (NIRCam) with archival data from the HST. NIRCam detects faint objects using longer, redder wavelengths to see beyond what is visible to the human eye and even HST.

Both the magnifications due to the lensing of the galaxy cluster and the high resolution of JWST are what made the observation of compact objects possible.

The Canadian-made Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument at JWST provided independent confirmation that the objects are old globular clusters because the researchers observed no oxygen emission lines, emissions with measurable spectra emitted by young clusters that they are actively forming stars.

NIRISS also helped unravel the geometry of Sparkler’s triple-lens images.

“JWST’s Canadian-made NIRISS instrument was vital in helping us understand how the three Sparkler images and their globular clusters are connected,” said Marcin Sawicki, a professor at Saint Mary’s University in Canada and co-author of the study.

“Seeing three images of several of Sparkler’s globular clusters, it became clear that they are orbiting the Sparkler galaxy rather than just in front of it by chance.”

Future studies will also model the galaxy cluster to understand lensing and run more robust analyzes to explain star formation histories.

The research has been published in astrophysical journal letters.

The James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope is designed to detect light from the first stars and galaxies.

The James Webb Telescope has been described as a ‘time machine’ that could help unlock the secrets of our universe.

The telescope will be used to observe the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and to observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even the moons and planets of our solar system.

The large telescope, which has already cost more than $7bn (£5bn), is seen as a successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of about 40 Kelvin, about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).

It is the largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope in the world, capable of looking back 100-200 million years after the Big Bang.

The orbiting infrared observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA likes to think of James Webb as a successor to Hubble rather than a replacement, as the two will be working together for a while.

The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 via the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It circles the Earth at a speed of about 17,000 mph (27,300 kph) in low Earth orbit at about 340 miles in altitude.

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