Hubble’s largest near-infrared image helps astronomers see 10 billion years into galaxies’ past
This article was originally featured on Popular Photography.
While James Webb Space Telescope has been getting a lot of attention lately, (notably, it was hit last year by a little rock ), Hubble), it continues to be a faithful performer in its observations of the sky. A team of astronomers led Lamiya Mwla at The University of Toronto recently released Hubble’s largest ever near-infrared photo. This composite was created from the entire Cosmological Evolution Survey field (COSMOS).
COSMOS, an astronomical survey, is designed to study the formation and evolution of galaxies. According to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), this photograph from Hubble “enables astronomers to map the star-forming regions of the Universe and learn how the earliest, most distant galaxies originated.”
Why it matters
The near-infrared wavelength, which is just beyond the human eye’s ability to perceive, is the longest and most reddish. It allows astronomers the opportunity to study some of our oldest galaxies. The 3D-DASH (Drift & SHift) technology was used by researchers to create the image. It is now considered to be “one of the richest data sets for extragalactic studies outside the Milky Way.” 3D DASH allows for the identification and classification of phenomena such as highly active black holes, galaxies on the path to collision, and gargantuan galactic clusters.
“3D_DASH adds a new layer to the COSMOS field’s unique observations and is also a steppingstone to the next decade’s space surveys,” said Ivelina Momcheva (head of data science at MPIA) and principal investigator of this study.
Previously, 3D-DASH images could only be taken from the ground. The results were also poor quality, which limited what astronomers were able to see. This information can now be gathered from the Hubble telescope, opening up new avenues for study.
” It was difficult to study these extremely uncommon events using existing photos, which is why Lamiya Mowla noted.
The final image created by 3D-DASH is 8 times larger than Hubble’s standard view. It was created in a similar way that a photographer might combine photos to create a large panorama. When the JWST becomes fully operational, researchers will be able to use the data to find rare objects and targets of particular interest. However, the JWST may not be the best Hubble’s future efforts.
” This record is likely not to be broken by Hubble’s successor JWST,” states MPIA in a press release. “[It is] was instead designed for sensitive, close-up photographs to capture the fine details of a small area .
Space fans can experiment with 3D-DASH. An interactive online model is available to the public and explores various data sets.
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