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Seeing Triple | ESA/Webb

Seeing Triple | ESA/Webb

2023-03-05 13:30:21

This commentary from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb House Telescope options the huge galaxy cluster RX J2129. Because of Gravitational lensing, this commentary comprises three totally different photos of the identical supernova-hosting galaxy, which you’ll see in nearer element here. Gravitational lensing happens when a large celestial physique causes a ample curvature of spacetime to bend the trail of sunshine travelling previous or by way of it, virtually like an unlimited lens. On this case, the lens is the galaxy cluster RX J2129, situated round 3.2 billion light-years from Earth within the constellation Aquarius. Gravitational lensing could cause background objects to look surprisingly distorted, as may be seen by the concentric arcs of sunshine within the higher proper of this picture.

Astronomers found the supernova within the triply-lensed background galaxy utilizing observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble House Telescope, and so they suspected that they’d discovered a really distant Sort Ia supernova. These supernovae at all times produce a reasonably constant luminosity — on the similar distance, one appears to be like as vivid as every other — which makes them notably useful to astronomers. As their distance from Earth is proportional to how dim they seem within the night time sky, objects with identified brightness can be utilized as ‘commonplace candles’ to measure astronomical distances. 

The just about uniform luminosity of a Sort Ia supernova may additionally enable astronomers to know how strongly the galaxy cluster RX J2129 is magnifying background objects, and subsequently how huge the galaxy cluster is. In addition to distorting the photographs of background objects, gravitational lenses could cause distant objects to look a lot brighter than they’d in any other case. If the gravitational lens magnifies one thing with a identified brightness, resembling a Sort Ia supernova, then astronomers can use this to measure the ‘prescription’ of the gravitational lens. 

This commentary was captured by Webb’s Near-InfraRed Camera to measure the brightness of the lensed supernova. As a part of the identical programme, NIRSpec spectroscopy of the supernova was additionally obtained, which can enable comparability of this distant supernova to Sort Ia supernovae within the close by Universe. This is a crucial technique to confirm that certainly one of astronomers’ tried-and-tested strategies of measuring huge distances works as anticipated.

[Image description: Stars and galaxies, mostly reddish in colour, are scattered across a dark background. In the foreground upper-right corner, a large elliptical galaxy is surrounded by many smaller similar galaxies in a cluster. These galaxies have bright centres and a diffuse white glow around them. The large galaxy has distorted images and arcs around it.]


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See Also

ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P. Kelly 

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