Hubble finds universe’s rarest galaxies

As the longest and reddest wavelength observed along with Hubble—just past what is noticeable to the human eye—near-infrared means astronomers are better capable to see the earliest galaxies which are the farthest away

An international team associated with scientists today released the largest near-infrared image ever taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, enabling astronomers to map the star-forming regions of the particular universe and learn how the first, most distant galaxies started.

Named 3D-DASH, this high-resolution survey will allow researchers to get rare objects and focuses on for follow-up observations with the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) throughout its decades-long mission.

A preprint of the paper to be published in  The Astrophysical Record   is available on  arXiv .

“ Since its launch more than 30 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope has led a renaissance in the study of how galaxies have changed in the last 10-billion years of the universe, ” says Lamiya Mowla, Dunlap Fellow at the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto and lead writer of the study. “ The particular 3D-DASH program extends Hubble’s legacy in wide-area imaging so we can begin to unravel the mysteries of the galaxies beyond our own. ”

For the first time, 3D-DASH offers researchers with a complete near-infrared survey of the entire COSMOS field, one of the richest data fields for extragalactic research beyond the Milky Way. As the longest and reddest wavelength observed with Hubble— just past what is noticeable to the human eye— near-infrared means astronomers are much better able to see the earliest galaxies that are the farthest away.

Astronomers should also search a vast area of the atmosphere to find rare objects in the universe. Until now, such a big image was only available in the ground and suffered from poor resolution, which limited exactly what could be observed. 3D-DASH will help to identify unique phenomena like the universe’s most massive galaxies, highly active black holes, and galaxies on the edge of colliding and blending into one.

“ I am curious about monster galaxies, which are the most massive ones in the universe formed from the mergers of other  galaxies . How do their structures grow, and exactly what drove the changes in their form? ” says Mowla, who began work on the particular project in 2015 while a grad student from Yale University. “ It had been difficult to study these incredibly rare events using existing images, which is what inspired the design of this large survey. ”

To image such an expansive area of sky, the experts employed a new technique with Hubble known as Drift Plus SHift (DASH). DASH creates an image that is eight times larger than Hubble’s standard field of view by recording multiple shots that are then stitched together into one learn mosaic, similar to taking a beautiful picture on a smartphone.

DASH also requires images faster than the usual technique, snapping eight images per Hubble’s orbit instead of one picture, achieving in 250 hours what would previously have taken 2, 1000 hours.

“ 3D-DASH adds a new coating of unique observations in the COSMOS field and is also a steppingstone to the  space   research of the next decade, ” says Ivelina Momcheva, mind of data science in the Max Planck Institute intended for Astronomy and principal investigator of the study. “ It offers us a sneak peek of future scientific discoveries and allows us to develop new techniques to analyze these big datasets. ”

3D-DASH covers a total region almost six times the size of the moon in the sky since seen from Earth. This record is likely to remain unbroken by Hubble’s successor JWST, which is instead built with regard to sensitive, close-up images to capture fine detail of a little area. It is the largest near- infrared image   of the sky available to astronomers until the next generation associated with telescopes launch in the next decade, such as the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and Euclid.

Until after that, professional astronomers and newbie stargazers alike can discover the skies using an  interactive, online edition of the 3D-DASH image   created by Gabriel Brammer, professor at the Cosmic Daybreak Center in the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation among NASA and European Area Agency (ESA). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center handles the  telescope   in Greenbelt, Baltimore. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science functions. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Colleges for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D. C.

The full image is available at the  Mikulski Archive for Area Telescopes .

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