Skip to content
Home » James Webb Telescope Spots Its First Supernova

James Webb Telescope Spots Its First Supernova

  • Space
Supernova
Source : slashgear

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) broke its own record for the most distant galaxy ever observed four days ago. A team had discovered an observation of a galaxy 400 million years after the Big Bang just a week before. A new study published this week discovered a galaxy only 235 million years after the Big Bang.

First ever JWST spotted supernova

James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope

According to Inverse, the tool may have discovered its first ever supernova.

“We suspect it’s a supernova,” Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) astronomer Mike Engesser told Inverse.

The telescope was not designed for such finds, which made the discovery all the more intriguing.

SDSS.J141930.11+5251593 is the name of the galaxy in which the supernova is located, and it was observed twice by JWST over a five-day period. The tool discovered that the supernova dimmed slightly over that time period.

This is thought to be typical supernova behavior.

“We would need more time series data to make a determination,” Engesser said, “but the data we do have matches that of a supernova, so it’s a very good candidate.”

Not designed for such discoveries

“It’s exciting because we’ve demonstrated that we are able to find and detect new transients with Webb, which is something that JWST is not designed to do,” Engesser continued. “But it’s one of the things we’re demonstrating we’re able to do in sort of ad hoc way.”

Finding celestial objects like supernovas is usually left to ground telescopes, which adds to the excitement and uniqueness of the discovery. It how cases JWST’s versatility & power.

Due to JWST’s limited field of sky compared to ground telescopes, the new discovery is particularly exceptional.

“So the actual likelihood of finding a transient in the field you’re looking at is fairly small — or at least we thought it would be small,” Engesser said. “But, as you’ve probably heard, every JWST field is now a deep field, so there are galaxies everywhere, and now we’re thinking, oh, we might have a really good chance of detecting supernovae all the time.”

Because supernovae naturally fade over a few months, indicating that astronomers rarely get to observe them in their later stages. These stages are critical for scientists trying to figure out what type of stars exploded and the physics of that stellar explosion.

JWST’s inherently deeper view of the universe may now reveal those critical details several years after the supernovae formed. These details could help scientists understand the universe’s fabric and how it stretches and expands over time. Congratulations, JWST! We eagerly await further discoveries!

Available for Amazon Prime