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The Hubble Space Telescope takes the largest near-infrared image to find the rarest galaxies in the universe

The Hubble Space Telescope takes the largest near-infrared image to find the rarest galaxies in the universe

An international team of scientists today released the largest near-infrared image captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, allowing astronomers to map star-forming regions in the universe and learn how the oldest and farthest galaxies appeared. This high-resolution survey, called 3D-DASH, will allow researchers to find rare objects and targets for follow-up observations with the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) during its decades-long mission.

An initial version of the article must be published in the language Astrophysical Journal.

“Since its launch more than 30 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope has led a renaissance in studying how galaxies have changed over the past 10 billion years of the universe,” Lamia said. Moola, a Dunlap Fellow in the College of Arts and Dunlap Science Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study. “3D-DASH expands Hubble’s legacy in large-scale imaging so we can begin to solve mysteries of galaxies beyond our own.”

For the first time, 3D-DASH provides researchers with a comprehensive near-infrared survey of the entire COSMOS field, one of the richest data fields for extragalactic studies outside the Milky Way. Since the longer, redder wavelength observed with Hubble – second only to what is visible to the human eye – near-infrared means astronomers are best able to see the first and farthest galaxies.

Astronomers must also search a wide area of ​​the sky to find rare things in the universe. Until now, an image of this size was only available from Earth and suffered from poor resolution, which limited what could be observed. 3D-DASH technology will help identify unique phenomena such as the most massive galaxies in the universe, highly energetic black holes and galaxies that are about to collide and merge into one.

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“I am curious about monstrous galaxies, which are the largest in the universe and formed as a result of the merging of other galaxies. How did their structures evolve and what caused the changes in their shape? Says Mola, who began working on the project in 2015 when he was a graduate student at Yale University.” It is difficult to study these extremely rare events using existing images, which is what motivated the design of this large survey. »

To image a vast swath of the sky, the researchers used a new technique with Hubble known as Drift And Shift (DASH). DASH creates an image eight times larger than the standard field of view of the Hubble telescope by taking multiple shots that are stitched together into a master mosaic, similar to taking a panoramic image on a smartphone.

DASH also takes pictures faster than usual technology, taking eight images per Hubble orbit instead of one, and achieving in 250 hours what would previously have taken 2,000 hours.

“3D-DASH adds a new layer of unique observations to the world of COSMOS and also provides a starting point for space surveys in the next decade,” says Ivelina Momcheva, Director of Data Science at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. study. “It gives us insight into future scientific discoveries and allows us to develop new techniques for analyzing these large data sets.”

3D-DASH technology covers a total area six times the size of the moon in the sky as seen from Earth. This record will likely remain unbroken by Hubble’s successor, JWST, which was designed more for sensitive close-ups to capture fine detail in a small area. It’s the largest near-infrared image of the sky available to astronomers until the launch of the next generation of telescopes in the next decade, such as the Roman and Euclid’s Nancy Grace telescope.

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Until then, professional astronomers and amateur astronomers can explore the sky using an online interactive version of the 3D-DASH image (https://www.lamiyamowla.com/3d-dash/explorer) was created by Gabriel Brammer, Professor at the Center for Cosmic Dawn at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

The Hubble Space Telescope is an international collaboration project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center operates the telescope in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Consortium of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, DC.

The full image is available from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (https://archive.stsci.edu/hlsp/3d-dash).

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Materials offered by University of Toronto. Original by Jocelyn Johnston. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.