A picture of the universe 13 billion years ago

At first glance, it will seem like a picture of the night sky. Because the presence of many stars can be seen in it. But the picture is colorful. And that’s the problem. Because, the picture we see by looking at the night sky, does not show so much red color. Only sometimes in the night sky do we see the reddish color of Mars.

No, this is not a picture of the night sky that we see with our eyes. The American space research agency NASA said in releasing the image that it is the deepest, sharpest and cleanest infrared image ever taken of the outer space.

The picture was also taken with the help of the world’s most powerful and largest telescope. The image was taken by this telescope at four times the distance of the moon from the earth. The James Webb Space Telescope is built by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. US President Joe Biden unveiled this photo on August 19, 2022. 

The nearly $10 billion telescope is designed to observe the formation of galaxies in deep space, early in the universe. The universe began with the Big Bang. But shortly after creation, the created particles spread out and gradually cooled, darkness descended over the universe.

But when scattered hydrogen, helium particles and dust are close together, the force of gravity pulls them together and condenses. The resulting heat causes the hydrogen to burn. First generation stars are formed. The process of creating a galaxy (Taramandal) began around the star. As far as is known, it began about 1,300 million years ago. And the picture released by NASA yesterday is a picture of a small part of the universe at that time.

100 years ago by the hand of scientist Edwin Hubble, we know that immediately after creation, galaxies are spreading around and the universe is constantly expanding. Scientist Albert Einstein states in his general theory of relativity, due to this expansion, the wavelength of the light that reaches us from a distance also increases continuously. In this, blue light is continuously converted to red light.

In addition, the dust around the galaxy absorbs visible light and emits infrared light. For this, to see the cosmic objects in the far space, such a space telescope is needed, which works in this infrared light. The James Webb Telescope operates in such light. This telescope has been placed in space in the last year after the efforts of thousands of scientists and engineers, funded by the United States, Canada and Europe, which took about 25 years.

Bangladesh is also there

Lamiya Ashraf, a team at the University of Toronto working on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency, took and analyzed the images. A member of that group is Lamiya Ashraf Mawla, who grew up in Shantinagar, Dhaka and is a former student of Wills Little Flower School. Lamiya is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Dunlop Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics after completing his PhD in Astronomy from Yale University, USA.

Media personnel spoke to an excited Lamiya after the release of the photo from NASA. 

Lamiya said: I worked with the Hubble telescope during my PhD research . Since then I wanted to work at James Webb. I got that opportunity.

James Webb’s camera works in the infrared part of the spectrum, which is invisible to the naked eye, the media asked him. But the color of this picture is visible? 

In reply, Lamiya said, ‘To make visible to our eyes, the longest wavelength of light in the Novoduribin image is marked as ‘red’, the middle one as ‘green’ and the shortest wavelength of light as ‘blue’. That is how the picture became visible for us. This work has been done through digital means.’ Any image becomes colorful with red-green-blue variations. The bright white lights in this image are stars in our galaxy. And distant galaxies are shown here as red/reddish. The nearest galaxy is 460 billion light years away and the farthest one is about 13 billion light years away.

According to NASA, if you put a grain of sand on the index finger of your hand and extend your arm toward the sky, this is a picture of the area of ​​the sky that the grain of sand would cover. There are about 10,000 galaxies.

Astronomer Syeda Lammim Ahad, PhD researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands, co-author of Astronomy for All, is currently in Munich, Germany. Astronomers from across Europe met there at the European Southern Observatory. Lamiya told media persons that this is one of the regions of space where galaxy clusters are high.

According to him, Einstein’s theory of gravitational lensing is easily seen in this image. In the picture some red light is visible in some places. The fuzzy area in the middle of the image is a supermassive galaxy at the center of this galaxy cluster. Its mass has caused the surrounding space-time to bend, forming a gravitational lens. As a result, the light of the galaxy behind that galaxy is bent.

According to Lamia, James Webb’s improved camera and spectroscopy would allow for a more detailed understanding of the time period of the creation of the universe. Apart from this, not only the distant space, but also the places where the planets are forming around the stars will be known in detail.

The James Webb Space Telescope, built over three decades, could change our understanding of the universe with new images, experts say.

In this regard, Bangladesh University of Engineering Professor “Farseem Mannan Mohammadi” told the media: The James Webb Space Telescope is an important milestone in space after the Hubble telescope. Because, the observation range of this telescope is more than Hubble. Through this we will be able to thoroughly know the relationship of cosmic objects and events in the past and more distant. It will undoubtedly open new horizons in astronomy and astrophysics.

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