Help between telescopes: Hubble makes infrared image for James Webb

Space telescopes work with different “filters”, which allow them to look at different corners of the Universe. Some of them are experts in identifying celestial objects that emit X-ray waves – as is the case with Chandra. Others, such as Fermi, focus on capturing gamma radiation, for example. Hubble, the most prolific telescope in history, works in visible light and a part of the infrared spectrum.

With all that explained, here’s the news. An international team of astronomers has released the largest image of galaxies ever taken by the Hubble telescope in the “near-infrared” range. The work aims to find potential objects from outside the galaxy to be studied by the newly launched James Webb, as well as other future space telescopes.

To take the picture, Hubble used the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a camera that has a large field of view and allows you to study astronomical objects in a wider wavelength range. The target was a region of the sky of just 1.35 square degrees – which is the diameter of about 6 full moons – yet it contains thousands of distant galaxies.

The production of the image relied on a new technique, which allows photographing a field eight times larger than the standard used until then by Hubble. Dubbed Drift And Shift (DASH), the technique made it possible to take eight photos per orbit of the space telescope, instead of just one photo, as was normally done.

In all, it took 250 hours to compose the various photos that were later joined into a mosaic – just like we take a panoramic photo on a cell phone. Before, the same mosaic could take 2,000 hours to make. Ancient galaxies can be enjoyed below:

Largest near-infrared image ever captured by Hubble

The research will be published in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal, but it is already available for consultation on the arXiv website.

Hubble captured 10-billion-year-old galaxies

By identifying potential study targets, the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to examine these galaxies in more detail, thanks to its 6.5-meter mirror — which can collect more light than Hubble.

By looking in the infrared range, astronomers can see the oldest and most distant galaxies, with some showing what they looked like around 10 billion years ago – when our galaxy was still forming. The mosaic will allow you to map star-forming regions and learn how the oldest and most distant galaxies originated.

In addition, the work will help identify rare phenomena such as the most massive galaxies in the Universe, highly active black holes and galaxies on the verge of colliding and merging. “This gives us a preview of future scientific discoveries and allows us to develop new techniques for analyzing these large datasets,” said Ivelina Momcheva, head of data science at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.

However, to take larger images of distant galaxies than the one taken by Hubble, it will be necessary to wait for the launch of new generation space telescopes, such as NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space, and the European Space Agency’s Euclid, scheduled to be launched. in 2023 and 2027, respectively.

In operation for more than 30 years, the Hubble Space Telescope is expected to continue working until at least June 2026. James Webb has already produced its first images of scientific quality. The material should begin to be released from the 12th of July.

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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