NASA James Webb Telescope has performed a miracle by doing something it was not designed to do.
NASA James Webb Space Telescope has surprised scientists by performing a miracle that no one expected, not even its creators! A few days ago, James Webb Space Telescope shared its first images of the most distant galaxy ever observed, which is around 235 million years after the Big Bang. And now, NASA’s telescope has left scientists surprised by detecting its first supernova! According to a report by Inverse, “Astronomers spotted something unusual happening in a distant galaxy in recent images from the James Webb Space Telescope — something that wasn’t there when Hubble last looked at the same galaxy.”
This comes as a surprise as the James Webb Telescope wasn’t built to detect supernovas. A supernova is the biggest explosion that humans have ever seen, which is the extremely bright, super-powerful explosion of a massive dying star. The detection of supernovas are usually done by large-scale survey telescopes that skim a vast portion of the space at short intervals. On the other hand, the James Webb Telescope is meant to observe great detail in a small area of the Universe. Even the deep field image released by U.S. President Joe Biden a few days back showed an area as large as a grain of sand.
Mike Engesser, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute told Inverse, “We think that stars in the first few million years would have been primarily, almost entirely, hydrogen and helium, as opposed to the types of stars we have now. They would have been massive — 200 to 300 times the mass of our sun, and they would have definitely lived a sort of ‘live fast, die young’ lifestyle. Seeing these types of explosions is something we haven’t really done yet.”
In a period of five days, the supernova which is called SDSS.J141930.11+5251593 was observed by the James Webb Telescope twice. These details may help NASA scientists to understand the universe way more deeply over a period of time.