ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One of the first, and biggest projects in the James Webb Space Telescopes tenure released its first images Thursday.
The James Webb Scape Telescope’s first year shows many types of galaxies through COSMOS-Web.
COSMOS-Web, according to a statement from the Rochester Institute of Technology, aims to map the earliest structures of the universe and will create a wide and deep survey of up to 1 million galaxies.
According to RIT, over the course of 255 hours of observing time, COSMOS-Web will map 0.6 square degrees of the sky with NIRCam, which they say is roughly the size of three full moons. They add they have mapped 0.2 square degrees with MIRI.
“It’s incredibly exciting to get the first data from the telescope for COSMOS-Web,” said RIT Principal Investigator Jeyhan Kartaltepe. “Everything worked beautifully, and the data are even better than we expected. We’ve been working really hard to produce science quality images to use for our analysis and this is just a drop in the bucket of what’s to come.”
Kartaltepe is co-leading COSMOS-Web with principal investigator Caitlin Casey, an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin. The international team includes nearly 100 astronomers from all over the world.
“To understand how those first stars formed what they were made of what their properties were how they are different from today’s stars,” Kartaltepe said. “That’s something only JWST can do right there’s no other telescope that we have or that we will have on the foreseeable future they can really probe this time period.”
The goal of COSMOS-Web is three primary things, according to RIT: furthering our understanding of the Reionization Era, roughly 200,000 to 1 billion years after the Big Bang; identifying and characterizing early massive galaxies in the first 2 billion years; and studying how dark matter has evolved with the stellar content of galaxies.
The images taken so far, according to RIT, show more detail than previous images taken by other observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.
The mosaics were created from six pointings of the telescope taken January 5-6. The telescope will take 77 pointings, roughly half the field, in April and May, and the remaining 69 pointings are scheduled to take place in December 2023 and January 2024.
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