The James Webb images were acquired when the galaxy was just about a quarter of its current age and reveal a spiral galaxy with stellar bars, which are elongated formations of stars that stretched out from the centre of galaxies to the outer discs roughly 11 billion years ago.
“I took one look at these data, and I said, ‘We are dropping everything else!’” described Shardha Jogee, a professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, in a media release.
“The bars hardly visible in Hubble data just popped out in the JWST image, showing the tremendous power of JWST to see the underlying structure in galaxies.”
— Ramón Encinas (@Ramon_E_G) January 7, 2023
As we learn more about spiral galaxies and why they resemble the Milky Way galaxy, our understanding of how they begin and evolve may alter.
Previously, Hubble caught photographs of faraway galaxies, but the obscuring dust and brightness of newborn stars showed only a hazy disk-shaped blur. The re-capture of these pictures by James Webb showed more information than before.
The large mirror on James Webb makes it more effective at collecting light. The longer infrared wavelengths allow it to see more precisely through the dust and assist in identifying the underlying structure.
“For this study, we are looking at a new regime where no one had used this kind of data or done this kind of quantitative analysis before,” Study Finds quoted Yuchen “Kay” Guo, a graduate student who led the data analysis, as saying.
“So everything is new. It’s like going into a forest that nobody has ever gone into.”
A galaxy with the designation EGS-23205 seems to be a spiral galaxy with a distinct star bar. Another barred galaxy, EGS-2468, may have formed as long as 11 billion years ago, according to astronomers. Four further barred galaxies with ages of more than eight million years were discovered by the telescope.
Galaxy bars are crucial to a galaxy’s evolution because they direct gas into its core. In turn, the gas encourages the development of stars.
“Bars solve the supply chain problem in galaxies,” explained Jogee.
A bar transports gas towards the galaxy’s core at a rate 10 to 100 times faster than the rest of the galaxy, just as humans must transport raw materials from the harbour to inland companies that manufacture new products.
Bars can also contribute in the creation of supermassive black holes in the galactic centre by steering gas.
Spiral bars appear to be a method for accelerating the birth of new stars during early epochs, challenging scientists’ assumptions about galaxy formation. These early bars also challenge current understanding of the cosmos since they introduce a new variable into galactic physics.
As per a report by StudyFinds, the research study is accepted and will soon be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.