Connect with us

News

NASA’s Webb Telescope Reveals Deepest Ever View of Early Universe

Published

on

The pictures show elements of the universe as they were 13bn years ago, reshaping our understanding of the cosmos

Nasa has released an image of far-flung galaxies as they were 13bn years ago, the first glimpse from the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, which promises to reshape our understanding of the dawn of the universe.

The small slice of the universe, called SMACS 0723, has been captured in sharp detail by the James Webb space telescope (JWST), showing the light from many different twinkling galaxies, among the oldest in the universe. Joe Biden, who unveiled the image at a White House event, called the moment “historic” and said it provided “a new window into the history of our universe”.

“It’s hard to even fathom,” said the US president. “It’s astounding. It’s an historic moment for science and technology, for America and all of humanity.”

Bill Nelson, administrator of Nasa, said the image showed the light of galaxies bending around other galaxies, traveling for billions of years before reaching the telescope. “We are looking back more than 13 billion years,” he said, adding that more images to be released by the space agency would reach back further, to about 13.5 billion years, close to the estimated start point of the universe itself. “We are going back almost to the beginning,” he said.

The release of the image is a preview of a series of high-resolution color pictures from JWST that will be shown off by Nasa on Tuesday. They will include “the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken”, according to Nelson.

Experts have said the telescope, three decades in the making and launched last year, could revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos by providing detailed infrared images of the universe.

The $10bn telescope is able to peek inside the atmospheres of exoplanets and observe some of the oldest galaxies in the universe by using a system of lenses, filters and prisms to detect signals in the infrared spectrum, which is invisible to the human eye. The system has so far “performed flawlessly”, according to Marcia Rieke, professor of astronomy at University of Arizona.

“Webb can see backwards in time just after the big bang by looking for galaxies that are so far away, the light has taken many billions of years to get from those galaxies to ourselves,” said Jonathan Gardner, deputy senior project scientist at Nasa, during a recent news conference. “Webb is bigger than Hubble so that it can see fainter galaxies that are further away.”

The telescope, which is a joint endeavor with the European Space Agency, has been in development since the mid-1990s and was finally propelled into space in December. It is described as the most powerful telescope ever to be sent into space and is currently about 1m miles from Earth, performing its task of scanning ancient galaxies.

The initial goal of the project was to see the first stars and galaxies formed following the big bang, watching “the universe turn the lights on for the first time”, as Eric Smith, Webb program scientist, put it. The telescope should be considered “one of humanity’s great engineering achievements”, said Kamala Harris, the US vice-president.

“The whole observatory is performing stunningly well,” said Gillian Wright, director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, also principal investigator for the mid-infrared (Miri) instrument on JWST.

“It’s hard to take in how fantastic it has turned out to be. It is utterly amazing.”

Nasa said JWST has five initial cosmic targets for observation, including the Carina nebula, a sort of celestial nursery where stars form. The nebula is about 7,600 light years away and is home to many enormous stars, several times larger than the sun.

Other areas of focus include WASP-96 b, a giant planet outside our solar system that is made mainly of gas; the southern ring nebula, an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star that’s 2,000 light years from Earth; and Stephan’s quintet, notable for being the first compact galaxy group discovered in 1877. Images from these targets will be unveiled by Nasa on Tuesday.

“It’s exhilarating to see the fantastic James Webb space telescope image released today,” said Richard Ellis, professor of astrophysics at University College London who was part of the committee that first conceived the telescope.

“As we are ourselves made of the material synthesized in stars over the past 13 billion years, JWST has the unique ability to trace back to our own origins in this remarkable universe. Everyone can take part in this amazing adventure.”

News

AU official calls out Germany over leopard jibe that left some offended

Published

on

By

A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. - Copyright © africanews Michael Sohn/AP2011

Germany apologized on Thursday (Jan. 26) for using a leopard emoji in a tweet refering to the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Africa. The post that was regarded as offensive by some users was called out by the spokeswoman for the African Union chairman Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The German foreign ministry attempted to poke fun at Russia’s top diplomat during his tour of Africa when it tweeted that he wasn’t there looking for leopards, but using the trip to try and justify Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The tweet, and the leopard emoji the foreign ministry used on its official account, apparently sought to play off Germany’s decision to send some of its advanced Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to back its military fight off Russian forces.

An African Union official questioned the use of emoji, pointing it could be interpreted as the continent being portrayed once again as only about wild animals.

Ebba Kalondo, the spokeswoman for AU Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, tweeted back to the German government account questioning if Africa, its people and its wildlife was “just a joke to you?”

“Foreign policy is not a joke nor should it be used to score cheap geopolitical points by illustrating an entire Continent with colonial tropes,” Kalondo wrote in a follow-up tweet.

The German foreign ministry apologized and said that the tweet wasn’t meant to offend, but rather “to call out the lies that Russia uses to justify its imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Lavrov has visited South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea this week, where he has repeated his claims that the United States and its Western allies are using Ukraine as a tool in a “hybrid war” against Russia.

Many African nations hold historical ties with Moscow. South Africa was one of several to abstain from a U.N. vote last year condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Eritrea voted against the resolution alongside Russia, Belarus, North Korea and Syria.

Continue Reading

News

Bomb injures at least a dozen people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo

Published

on

By

Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.

A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday (Jan. 25), injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu’s Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

“Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.

No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.

Deadly violence

Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.

The explosion Wednesday (Jan. 25) occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.

Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.

Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.

Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

Continue Reading

News

Somalia: Al-Shabaab terrorists storm mayor’s office, killing six

Published

on

By

Al-Shabaab terrorists set off a bomb and stormed a government building in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.  The Al-Qaeda-backed terror group has stepped up bombings in the country.

At least six people were killed on Sunday in an attack by Al Shabaab militants at the mayor’s office in central Mogadishu, police said.

A suicide bomber set off a huge blast that tore through building near the office complex with gunfire erupting afterwards, Somali police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said at the end of the four-hour siege.

“All the six attackers died. Five of them during the fire exchange with the security forces and one of them detonated himself,” Dudishe told reporters.

“Six civilians also died during the attack and the situation is back to normal.” All the staffers at the mayor’s office were rescued, the police added.

Al 0Shabaab, a militant group allied with Al Qaeda claimed, responsibility for the attack via its communication channels, saying its fighters “made their way inside the targeted building after killing the security guards.” Witnesses said the initial explosion damaged nearby buildings and gunfire could be heard in the vicinity of the mayor’s office.

The area was quickly cordoned off by security officers, a witness who runs a business near the offices said.

Another witness, Omar Nur, said he was inside a nearby mall when the explosion went off and “was lucky to have escaped safely.” The Al Shabaab militants have been waging a bloody insurgency against the frail internationally backed central government for 15 years, carrying out attacks both in Somalia and neighbouring countries.

The latest attack comes days after seven soldiers were killed on Friday at a military camp in Galcad, a town in central Somalia about 375 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu. The US military said the attack — in the Somali town retaken by the army this week — involved more than 100 Al Shabaab jihadists.

“The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defence strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty Al Shabaab terrorists killed” the US military command for Africa (AFRICOM) said in a statement.

Source: Dawn

Continue Reading

Trending