The James Webb Space Telescope has managed to peer back into time and resolve more granular details of distant galaxies with its infrared gaze. Some galaxies from the universe where only 25 percent of their current age are barred spirals, just like the Milky Way. Two targets were investigated, EGS-24268 and EGS-23205. They are the indistinct smudges on images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Both galaxies are resolved as barred spiral galaxies in the Webb images, which is how they appeared 11 billion years ago. Astronomers did not anticipate discovering closed spiral galaxies from so long previously.
Four different loop galaxies were discovered eight billion years ago. The results need scientists to distill existing theses on galaxy construction and expansion. Astronomer Shardha Jogeesays, “I took one look at these data, and I said, We are dropping everything else! 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.” Bars in galaxies serve as conveyor belts, transporting gas and dust to the galaxy’s central regions, moving the material necessary to form stellar nurseries, and fueling the star formation process.
As the bears transport the material into nebulae, the galaxy’s central regions produce stars between 10 and 100 times the star production rate elsewhere in the universe. The bars also help form and grow supermassive black holes that are believed to reside in the cores of almost all galaxies. The Webb observations indicate that bars in spiral galaxies are persistent, long-term structures that can significantly impact the galaxy’s evolution. A paper describing the findings has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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