If the James Webb telescope is surprising some astronomers with its results, others are intrigued, to say the least. The most distant galaxies found by the instruments may actually be much closer than you think. A researcher explained how they were confusing their colleagues, and you can see that below.
Other news highlights of the week include a cliff with exposed ice on Mars, supermassive black holes about to collide, and more.
Some measurements of distant galaxies based on data from the James Webb telescope are confusing astronomers. He’s looking at objects never seen before, located at distances beyond… far away.
Garth Illingworth, an astronomer at the University of California, is one of those who think these findings are outside the models’ predictions. He questions how galaxies formed in such an early universe, and suspects that they might actually be nearby galaxies with a high amount of dust. This dust could absorb blue light, leading to miscalculations of its distances. For now, that mystery remains open.
A new photo from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft has revealed a jutting cliff, covered in exposed ice. This is only possible because there is less incidence of solar radiation in the region where the cliff is located, thus keeping the water in a solid state.
The team still doesn’t know exactly how long it took for the ice to accumulate there, but the bands suggest layers of ice that formed under different weather conditions.
A galaxy called SDSS J1430+2303, relatively close to the Milky Way (about a billion light-years away) appears to have a binary system of supermassive black holes at its core. According to a new study, they could collide three years from now, which is an almost negligible time span on a cosmic scale.
The combined mass of the two black holes at the center of SDSS J1430+2303 would be 200 million suns, and both orbit each other at a very close distance. This is of great interest to scientists, as it has never been possible to track such a cataclysmic event.
Scientists often look for flaws or gaps in Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to decipher mysteries that have yet to be deciphered. One of them is dark energy, responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe, which pushes galaxies further and further apart. How does this happen if gravity should attract objects?
In that test, a group of researchers measured more than 100 gravitational lenses, hoping to find some deviation from Einstein’s predictions. The result, as you may have noticed, was negative. Einstein was right again. But physicists won’t give up anytime soon, especially with upcoming gravitational wave detectors.
Rocket Lab is developing a mission to Venus, expected to launch in May 2023. If all goes well, it will be the first commercial mission ever sent to the neighboring planet.
The goal is to take a probe weighing about 20 kg, equipped with a heat shield to protect it from high temperatures, and an instrument that will study the planet’s clouds with an ultraviolet nephelometer, looking for organic particles in the Venusian atmosphere.
A group of scientists has identified and mapped more than 3 million individual stars in the galactic core, in a region called Sagittarius B1. These are very young stars ionizing the surrounding gas, that is, ripping electrons out of gases like hydrogen.
Most of them formed not in massive clusters, but in groups of stars gravitationally free from each other, following the same path. The researchers suggest that star formation started in the innermost region of the center and then spread to the outer regions.
The startup Orbit Fab is developing a supply system in space, in Earth orbit, and intends to put the plan into action from 2025. The idea is to charge US$ 20 million for up to 100 kg of fuel for satellites, in the case of Hydrazine.
This is the first time the company has set a price for fuel, hence the importance of the announcement, which will help potential customers better understand how fuel economy will work.