Webb's First Deep Field (NIRCam Image)

Stsci_2022-035a_1024

stsci_2022-035a July 12th, 2022

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Thousands of galaxies flood this near-infrared image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. High-resolution imaging from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope combined with a natural effect known as gravitational lensing made this finely detailed image possible.

First, focus on the galaxies responsible for the lensing: the bright white elliptical galaxy at the center of the image and smaller white galaxies throughout the image. Bound together by gravity in a galaxy cluster, they are bending the light from galaxies that appear in the vast distances behind them. The combined mass of the galaxies and dark matter act as a cosmic telescope, creating magnified, contorted, and sometimes mirrored images of individual galaxies.

Clear examples of mirroring are found in the prominent orange arcs to the left and right of the brightest cluster galaxy. These are lensed galaxies – each individual galaxy is shown twice in one arc. Webb’s image has fully revealed their bright cores, which are filled with stars, along with orange star clusters along their edges.

Not all galaxies in this field are mirrored – some are stretched. Others appear scattered by interactions with other galaxies, leaving trails of stars behind them.

Webb has refined the level of detail we can observe throughout this field. Very diffuse galaxies appear like collections of loosely bound dandelion seeds aloft in a breeze. Individual “pods” of star formation practically bloom within some of the most distant galaxies – the clearest, most detailed views of star clusters in the early universe so far.

One galaxy speckled with star clusters appears near the bottom end of the bright central star’s vertical diffraction spike – just to the right of a long orange arc. The long, thin ladybug-like galaxy is flecked with pockets of star formation. Draw a line between its “wings” to roughly match up its star clusters, mirrored top to bottom. Because this galaxy is so magnified and its individual star clusters are so crisp, researchers will be able to study it in exquisite detail, which wasn’t previously possible for galaxies this distant.

The galaxies in this scene that are farthest away – the tiniest galaxies that are located well behind the cluster – look nothing like the spiral and elliptical galaxies observed in the local universe. They are much clumpier and more irregular. Webb’s highly detailed image may help researchers measure the ages and masses of star clusters within these distant galaxies. This might lead to more accurate models of galaxies that existed at cosmic “spring,” when galaxies were sprouting tiny “buds” of new growth, actively interacting and merging, and had yet to develop into larger spirals. Ultimately, Webb’s upcoming observations will help astronomers better understand how galaxies form and grow in the early universe.

For a full array of Webb’s first images and spectra, including downloadable files, please visit: https://webbtelescope.org/news/first-images

NIRCam was built by a team at the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center.

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-035

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
SMACS 0723-73
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy > Grouping > Cluster
Galaxy > Type > Gravitationally Lensed

Distance

Universescale3
4,240,000,000 light years
Stsci_2022-035a_128
 

Position Details

Position (FK5)
RA = 7h 23m 8.6s
DEC = -73° 26’ 59.2”
Orientation
North is 35.0° CCW
Field of View
2.3 x 2.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Volans

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 900.0 nm
Blue Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 1.5 µm
Green Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 2.0 µm
Green Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 2.8 µm
Orange Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 3.6 µm
Red Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 4.4 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Blue
Green
Green
Orange
Red
Stsci_2022-035a_1280
×
ID
2022-035a
Subject Category
D.5.5.3   D.5.1.8  
Subject Name
SMACS 0723-73
Credits
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team
Release Date
2022-07-12T00:00:00
Lightyears
4,240,000,000
Redshift
0.390
Reference Url
https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-035
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
distance given to cluster at redshift z=0.390
Facility
Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb
Instrument
NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam
Color Assignment
Blue, Blue, Green, Green, Orange, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
900, 1500, 2000, 2770, 3560, 4440
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
FK5
Equinox
Reference Value
110.7856779410000030, -73.4497732803999952
Reference Dimension
4537.0000000000000000, 4630.0000000000000000
Reference Pixel
3164.4508056599997872, 3546.6071319600000606
Scale
-0.0000083307098715, 0.0000083307098715
Rotation
34.9685460086282660
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-J-p22035a-f-4537x4630.tif
Metadata Date
2022-07-10T12:39:20-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
×

 

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
4,240,000,000 light years