UA Science
Left: Kevin Hainline, Assistant Research Professor, Steward Observatory. Right: Ryan Endsley, McDonald Observatory Postdoctoral Fellow UT Austin, PhD, Steward Observatory 2022. Background: Infrared image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) taken for the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey, or JADES, program.

Infant universe teemed with full-fledged galaxies crackling with bursts of star formation

How did the very first stars and galaxies form after the Big Bang? To find answers, a group of astronomers at the University of Arizona is using NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to peer deeper into the universe and farther back in time than ever before.

Already, the team has discovered hundreds of galaxies that existed when the universe was less than 600 million years old – just 4% of its current age. The Webb Telescope, or JWST, also has observed galaxies sparkling with a multitude of young, hot stars formed during what researchers call "surprisingly episodic bursts of star formation."  

The team presented their latest observations on Monday at the 242nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The observations were made as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey, or JADES, which is dedicated to uncovering and studying extremely faint, distant galaxies. Thirty-two days of observing time have been devoted to JADES, which is one of the largest observing programs in Webb's first year of science...

Nearby planetary system seen in breathtaking detail

A team led by University of Arizona astronomers used NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to image the warm dust around a nearby young star, Fomalhaut, to study the first asteroid belt ever seen outside of our solar system in infrared light. The image shows nested concentric rings of dust, some of which had never been seen before. These belts most likely are carved by the gravitational forces produced by embedded, unseen planets.
To the astronomers' surprise, the dusty structures are much more complex than the asteroid and Kuiper dust belts of our solar system. There are three nested belts extending out to 14 billion miles, or 23 billion kilometers, from the star; that's 150 times the...

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