James Webb found a supernova candidate

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has found its first supernova candidate. It is located in a galaxy more than 3 billion light-years away from Earth.

Importance of supernovae

The scientific program of the JWST telescope includes numerous goals — from searching for galaxies at the edge of the observable Universe to obtaining atmospheric spectra of exoplanets. These include the study of supernovae. This task is very important for astrophysicists. Observations of supernovae can shed light on the mechanism of the death of massive stars and the formation of heavy elements.

Supernova in the artist’s image. Source: ESA/Hubble

Supernovae are also used by scientists as a “standard candle” to determine intergalactic distances. JWST, with its more advanced instruments, is able to make detailed measurements of the supernova’s brightness and clarify the existing astronomical distance scale. In turn, this makes it possible to reduce the error in determining the rate of expansion of the Universe.

First supernova of JWST

Despite the fact that JWST has recently started its scientific program, it has already managed to find the first candidate for a supernova. It is located in the galaxy SDSS J141930.11+525159.3, placed at a distance of 3.3 billion km from Earth.

A supernova candidate photographed by the James Webb telescope. Source: Mike Engesser

The potential supernova was found during a comparison of images taken by JWST using the NIRCam camera and archived images of the Hubble telescope for 2011. Its absolute stellar magnitude t is estimated from -15.5 to -16. According to astronomers, most likely JWST photographed a supernova that had already passed the peak of brightness and began to fade. Whether this is true or not will become clear after additional observations.

Earlier we wrote about how scientists found a supernova material in a meteorite.

According to https://www.wis-tns.org

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