An incredible journey into the past of the universe

Images captured by james webb telescope of the universe that existed 4.6 billion years old. It is a discovery that allows us not only to look back but also to know if there was life in other galaxies.

look backand find out how the universe was created billions of years before our existence, that’s what happened very recently with some photos that have been released to the world.

new exoplanets(planets orbiting a star other than the sun), the composition of galaxies and stars who are born and others who die, are some of the sightings that have come to light.

The images were captured by James Webb Telescope, the largest ever launched into space, and were revealed, of the White House, at an event attended by US President Joe Biden on July 11. The galaxies observed by the telescope are located 4.6 billion light-years away.

This space mission was carried out in an integral way with a team of scientists from the NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

What do these astronomical advances mean? The key question is how long it will take to find out if there is life on another planet

LOOK BACK. One of the leaders of the program that launched at the Webb Telescope, John Mather -American astrophysicist, cosmologist and Nobel laureate- explained that after reconstructing the Big Bang, humanity still needed to know “what happened right after, how the galaxies grew, what happened between yesterday and today. When this program started, in 1995, there was no technology to answer these questions, but now there is this “time machine”, That’s what the Nobel laureate called him.

“We are ready to begin our journey to the earliest days of our universe with this world-class observatory,” he said. the director scientist at the European Space Agency, Günther Hasinger

NOTICIAS consulted Argentinian scientists clarify this concept of scientific progress that the more it advances, the more it looks back.

Light is the fastest entity in the universe (almost 300,000 km/sec). This is why the distances there, being so great, are not measured in km but in light years.

“We can observe an object thanks to the light we receive from it. For example, we observe the Sun because the light it emits travels 150 million km, exactly the distance that separates it from our own planet, Earth. To travel this distance of 150 million km, at 300,000 km per second, light takes about 8 minutes. Therefore, whenever we see the Sun, we appreciate it as it was 8 minutes ago. In other words, for example, if the Sun stopped shining at 2:00 p.m., we wouldn’t know until after 2:08 p.m. Diego Bagu, graduated in astronomy from the University of La Plata, specialist in spatial geodesy. researcher, teacher and science communicator.

A medida que los objetos en el universo (planetas, estrellas, galaxias, agujeros negros.) se encuentran más lejos en distancia, la luz tarda más en llegar y es así que los vemos cómo eran cada vez más lejos en el pasado, es decir , in time.

The extraordinary function of the Webb telescope, says Bagú, is that it will allow us to see stars and galaxies that are billions of light years away, and thus to enjoy these astronomical wonders as they were billions of years ago.

“In one of the images made public, objects located 4.6 billion light years away were observed, this indicates that objects were observed as they were 4.6 billion years ago This image was obtained with more than 12 hours of exposure. If longer exposures are made, it will be possible to observe objects that are less bright, more distant and formed longer ago”, assures NOTICIAS, Olga Pintado , Ph.D. in Physics, astronomer, researcher at CONICET and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences at the University of San Pablo in Tucumán.

If a star is at a distance of 200 light years from Earth, looking at it, we see what it looked like 200 years ago. When we observe more distant objects, we observe older objects.

“If we take into account that the age of the universe is estimated at 13.7 billion years, we expect that objects formed very soon after the Big Bang will be observed”, he specifies.

Bagú says, returning to the galaxies captured by the super telescope, “it is likely that these galaxies no longer exist”, due to the number of light years that separate us.

Another difficult concept for the non-scientific community to grasp is how the distance (time) these galaxies are at is calculated. “When the distances are so great -says the specialist- we take into account, on the one hand, a mathematical physical model, of the expansion of the universe, and to this are added the data of the light that we receive “.

WATER IS LIFE. In addition to providing information about the Big Bang, these images could provide data on the possibility of life on other planets. The European Space Agency states in one of its published papers that “The James Webb Space Telescope has captured the distinctive signature of water, along with evidence of clouds and haze, in the atmosphere surrounding a planet hot, puffy gas giant orbiting a distant sun-like star.

“For a planet to have such life, it must be solid, have an atmosphere, liquid water, and be some distance from the star for its surface temperature to be adequate,” Pintado says. One of the images made public is a spectrum of a planet’s atmosphere. “We are on the verge of finding out which planets could have life to search for it in these places,” he concludes.

by Adriana Vanoli

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