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“I took one look at these data, and I said, ‘We are dropping everything else!’” said Shardha Jogee, professor of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. “The bars hardly visible in Hubble data just popped out in the JWST image, showing the tremendous power of JWST to see the underlying structure in galaxies,” she said, describing data from the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS), led by UT Austin professor, Steven Finkelstein.
The team identified another barred galaxy, EGS-24268, also from about 11 billion years ago, which makes two barred galaxies existing farther back in time than any previously discovered.
In an article accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, they highlight these two galaxies and show examples of four other barred galaxies from more than 8 billion years ago.
“For this study, we are looking at a new regime where no one had used this kind of data or done this kind of quantitative analysis before,” said Yuchen “Kay” Guo, a graduate student who led the analysis, “so everything is new. It’s like going into a forest that nobody has ever gone into.”
Bars play an important role in galaxy evolution by funneling gas into the central regions, boosting star formation.
“Bars solve the supply chain problem in galaxies,” Jogee said. “Just like we need to bring raw material from the harbor to inland factories that make new products, a bar powerfully transports gas into the central region where the gas is rapidly converted into new stars at a rate typically 10 to 100 times faster than in the rest of the galaxy.”
Bars also help to grow supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies by channeling the gas part of the way.
This simulation shows both how stellar bars form (left) and gas flows into the bar (right). Stellar bars play an important role in the evolution of the galaxy by funneling gas into the central regions of the galaxy, where it is rapidly converted into new stars, at a rate typically 10 to 100 times the rate in the rest of the galaxy. Barriers also indirectly help supermassive black holes grow in the centers of galaxies through the gas pathway. Credit: Francoise Combes, Paris Observatory
The discovery of bars in such early stages of galaxy evolution shakes up the scenarios in several ways.
“This early discovery means that evolutionary models now have a new path through the bars for the production of new stars at early maturing ages,” said Jogee.
And the very existence of these ancient bars challenges theoretical models, as physicists need to get a galaxy to predict the correct amount of vectors. The team will try different models in the next papers.
JWST can detect structures in distant galaxies better than Hubble for two reasons: First, its larger mirror gives it more flexibility, allowing it to see further and at higher resolution. Second, it can see better through dust, as it observes at more infrared wavelengths than Hubble.
Graduate students Eden Wise and Zilei Chen played a key role in the research by visually reviewing hundreds of galaxies, looking for those that seemed to have carriers, which helped narrow the list down to a few dozen for other researchers to analyze with more intensive mathematics. addition
Report: “First Look at z > 1 Bars in the Rest Frame Near-Infrared with JWST Early CEERS Imaging” Yuchen Guo, Shardha Jogee, Steven L. Finkelstein, Zilei Chen, Eden Wise, Micaela B. Bagley, Guillermo Barro, Stijn Wuyts, Dale D. Kocevski, Jeyhan S. Kartaltepe, Elizabeth J. McGrath, Henry C. Ferguson, Bahram Mobasher, Mauro Giavalisco, Ray A. Lucas, Jorge A. Zavala, Jennifer M. Lotz, Norman A. Grogin, Marc Huertas-Company, Jesús Vega-Ferrero, Nimish P. Hathi, Pablo Arrabal Haro, Mark Dickinson, Anton M. Koekemoer, Casey Papovich, Nec Pirzkal, LY Aaron Yung, Bren E. Backhaus, Eric F. Bell, Antonello Calabrò, Nikko J. Cleri, Roris T. Coogan, MC Cooper, Luca Costantin, Darren Croton, Kelcey Davis, Alexander de la Vega, Avishai Dekel, Maximilien Franco, Jonathan P. Gardner, Benne W. Holwerda, Taylor A. Hutchison, Viraj Pandya, Pablo G. Pérez -González, Swara Ravindranath, Caitlin Rose, Jonathan R. Trump and Weichen Wang, Accepted Journal of the Astrophysical Society.
Other co-authors from UT Austin are Steven Finkelstein, Micaela Bagley and Maximilien Franco. Dozens of co-authors from other institutions hail from the US, UK, Japan, Spain, France, Italy, Australia and Israel.
Funding for this research was provided in part by the Roland K. Blumberg Endowment in Astronomy, the Heising-Simons Foundation and NASA. This work used resources at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, including Frontera, the most powerful supercomputer at US universities.
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