There were 10 times more galaxies just like our own Milky Way in the early Universe than previously thought.
This cosmic insight comes form one of the first studies of images captured by Nasa’s new James Webb Space Telescope.
One of its authors, Prof Christopher Conselice from the University of Manchester, UK, said that Webb could “zoom in on the early Universe”.
This yielded insights about objects in space that “we knew existed but didn’t understand how and when they formed”.
Disc galaxies dominate the “galaxy population” today,” the researcher explained.
“Our own galaxy is a disc, Andromeda (our nearest neighbour, which is 2.5 million light-years from Earth) is a disc.
“Three-quarters of nearby galaxies are discs, but it was thought that they formed late in the evolution of the Universe,” he told BBC News.
That was before the James Webb Space Telescope gave astronomers a view so far back in time.
The study, which has been published on a preprint server, meaning it has yet to be peer reviewed by other scientists in the field, used the first image released from the telescope.
This image shows a foreground cluster of galaxies called SMACS 0723. The gravity of this great mass of objects has magnified the light of galaxies in the background, in distant Universe, making them visible for the first time. Some of these galaxies existed a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang.
Webb, with its 6.5m-wide golden mirror and super-sensitive infrared instruments, is able to resolve their shapes and count them.
“We knew we would see things Hubble didn’t see. But in this case we’re seeing things differently,” said Prof Conselice, who will be presenting some of his discoveries on Saturday 23 July at the Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire.
The Universe is about 13.8 billion years old, so the images that the JWST is capturing are glimpses of the processes that formed stars and planets long before our own came into existence.
“These are the processes we need to understand if we want to understand our origins,” said Prof Conselice.
“This might be the most important telescope ever,” he added. “At least since Galileo’s.”
James Webb is a joint effort between the American, European and Canadian space agencies, with Nasa in the lead.
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SpaceX delivers Russian, Native American women to station – CTV News
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –
A Russian cosmonaut who caught a U.S. lift to the International Space Station arrived at her new home Thursday for a five-month stay, accompanied by a Japanese astronaut and two from NASA, including the first Native American woman in space.
The SpaceX capsule pulled up to the station a day after launching into orbit. The linkup occurred 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the Atlantic, just off the west coast of Africa.
It was the first time in 20 years that a Russian hitched a ride from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the result of a new agreement reached despite friction over the war in Ukraine.
Cosmonaut Anna Kikina joins two Russians already at the orbiting outpost. She’ll live and work on the Russian side until March, before returning to Earth in the same SpaceX capsule.
Riding along with Kikina: Marine Col. Nicole Mann, a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in California, Navy Capt. Josh Cassada and Japan’s Koichi Wakata, the only experienced space flier of the bunch with five missions.
As the capsule closed in, the space station residents promised the new arrivals that their bunks were ready and the outside light was on.
“You guys are the best,” replied Mann, the capsule’s commander.
Mann and her crew will replace three Americans and one Italian who will return in their own SpaceX capsule next week after almost half a year up there. Until then, 11 people will share the orbiting lab.
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio arrived two weeks ago. He launched on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan, kicking off the cash-free crew swapping between NASA and the Russian Space Agency. They agreed to the plan last summer in order to always have an American and Russian at the station.
Until Elon Musk’s SpaceX started launching astronauts two years ago, NASA was forced to spend tens of millions of dollars every time an astronaut flew up on a Soyuz.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
NASA Wants To Mine The Moon, But Law Experts Say It's Not That Simple – SlashGear
The first roadblock facing humans as we seek to expand our presence in the solar system lies in technology. NASA reports that it takes about seven months (measured in Earth days) to travel from our planet’s surface to Mars. Thrillist notes that travel to the Moon only requires a three-day journey, while exploration of Jupiter or Saturn (the next bodies out from Mars) would require a lengthy, six- or seven-year voyage, respectively. On a technical level, our current means of launching satellites and humans at these distant bodies is exactly that, a launch (via NASA). In order to make space travel more feasible for human explorers, we would need to develop a propulsion system that could continually deliver powered flight to a spacecraft, or at least the ability to continually augment flight speed, rather than simply relying on initial launch velocity to carry the craft along to its final destination.
This means a combination of two distinct realities: Humans must develop a brand new means of propulsion that requires far less storage space and mass, a revolutionary idea to be sure; and we must develop the ability to hop between planets and refuel along this lengthy journey. Therefore, technological advancement that would support increased space travel would require both colonization and a capacity for extracting mineral resources from the surfaces of neighboring planets and moons. Continuous habitation in new worlds would be required to support these efforts.
Good planning gets the bike rolling – Science Daily
In surveys, a large majority of respondents usually agree that cycling can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and to sustainable transport, especially in densely populated areas. In contrast, for many countries in reality there is a large gap between desired and actual numbers. In Germany, for example, only 20% of the short-distance of everyday trips in residential environments are covered by bicycle.
When asked about the reasons, one point repeatedly comes up top of the list: The perceived or actual lack of safety on the bike routes used. Increasing the share of cycling trips in the modal split thus depends crucially on a well-developed bike path infrastructure. However, designing efficient bike path networks is a complex problem that involves balancing a variety of constraints while meeting overall cycling demand. In addition, many municipalities still only have small budgets available for improving bicycle infrastructure.
In their study, researchers from the Chair of Network Dynamics / Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed) at TU Dresden propose a new approach to generate efficient bike path networks. This explicitly considers the demand distribution and route choice of cyclists based on safety preferences. Typically, minimizing the travel distance is not the only goal, but aspects such as (perceived) safety or attractiveness of a route are also taken into account.
The starting point of this approach is a reversal of the usual planning process: Under real conditions, a bike path network is created by constantly adding bike paths to more streets. The cfaed scientists, on the contrary, start with an ideal, complete network, in which all streets in a city are equipped with a bike path. In a virtual process, they gradually remove individual, less used bike path segments from this network. The route selection of the cyclists is continuously updated. Thus, a sequence of bike path networks is created that is always adapted to the current usage. Each stage of this sequence corresponds to a variant that could be implemented with less financial effort. In this way, city planners can select the version that fits their municipality’s budget.
“In our study, we illustrate the applicability of this demand-driven planning scheme for dense urban areas of Dresden and Hamburg,” explains Christoph Steinacker, first author of the study. “We approach a real-life issue here using the theoretic toolbox of network dynamics. Our approach allows us to compare efficient bike path networks under different conditions. For example, it allows us to measure the influence of different demand distributions on the emerging network structures.” The proposed approach can thus provide a quantitative assessment of the structure of current and planned bike path networks and support demand-driven design of efficient infrastructures.
SpaceX delivers Russian, Native American women to station – CTV News
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