NASA’s James Webb telescope discovers the earliest strand of a mysterious ‘cosmic web’ that links galaxies – DNyuz

NASA’s James Webb telescope discovers the earliest strand of a mysterious ‘cosmic web’ that links galaxies

NASA’s James Webb Telescope has spotted a string of ancient galaxies connected by a cosmic filament dating back to the early days of the universe.

This is the first filament of the mysterious ,” network connecting galaxies.

The length of the filament is estimated to be three million light years. This is more than billions of miles from Earth to Mars.

The discovery of this filament could help explain how the universe was formed, and what invisible threads hold it all together.

“I was surprised by how long and how narrow this filament is,” said Xiaohui Fan of the University of Arizona and a member of the ASPIRE consortium of researchers who made the discovery, in a press release about the finding.

“I expected to find something, but I didn’t expect such a long, distinctly thin structure.”

Galaxies are connected by a cosmic web

Looking at pictures of the universe, it could be tempting to think that galaxies appear randomly out of nothing.

But over the past 20 years, research has uncovered the universe is built on a sort of scaffolding, a series of filaments and clumps invisible to the naked eye.

In these clumps, dark matter and regular matter become very dense, creating the perfect conditions for the birth of stars and galaxies.

Between these clumps and filaments are “very low-density regions of the universe where there are very few galaxies and less matter,” Niall Jeffrey, a cosmologist at University College London, previously told the Guardian.

Peering back into the early stages of the universe can give us a sense of how galaxies appeared within this mysterious network.

Earliest filament ever seen

The filament appeared about 830 million years after the Big Bang, very early on considering the universe is about 13 billion years old.

While the filament itself is invisible, it’s possible to see how it brings galaxies together. The filament passes through 10 galaxies, which appear on the image as small red dots. This means that their light is from the very beginnings of the universe.

Below is a close-up view of three galaxies.

A quasar, a luminous supermassive black hole, is thought to be anchoring the filament, researchers said. It is highlighted by the red arrow in the picture above.

The team believes that eventually the galaxies will be pulled together into a cluster, much like the nearby Coma galaxy cluster.

The ASPIRE team hopes the picture will shed more light on the cosmic web, but it is also very interested in how early quasars were formed in the universe’s infancy.

“The last two decades of cosmology research have given us a robust understanding of how the cosmic web forms and evolves,” said team member Joseph Hennawi of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the press release.

“ASPIRE is a project that aims to integrate the formation of massive black holes in our story about the creation of cosmic structures.

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