Space Stories: JWST, a Galaxy Catalog, and a Stellar Graveyard

Image (Credit): JWST image of the Tarantula Nebula, which is about 160,000 light-years away. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

Here are some recent stories of interest. “‘Bit of Panic’: Astronomers Forced to Rethink Early Webb Telescope Findings

Astronomers have been so keen to use the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that some have got a little ahead of themselves. Many started analysing Webb data right after the first batch was released, on 14 July, and quickly posted their results on preprint servers — but are now having to revise them. The telescope’s detectors had not been calibrated thoroughly when the first data were made available, and that fact slipped past some astronomers in their excitement. “‘Astronomers Map Distances to 56,000 Galaxies, Largest-ever Catalog

How old is our universe, and what is its size? A team of researchers led by University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomers Brent Tully and Ehsan Kourkchi from the Institute for Astronomy have assembled the largest-ever compilation of high-precision galaxy distances, called Cosmicflows-4. Using eight different methods, they measured the distances to a whopping 56,000 galaxies. The study has been published in the Astrophysical Journal.

University of Sydney: “Milky Way’s Graveyard of Dead Stars Found

The first map of the ‘galactic underworld’ – a chart of the corpses of once massive suns that have since collapsed into black holes and neutron stars – has revealed a graveyard that stretches three times the height of the Milky Way, and that almost a third of the objects have been flung out from the galaxy altogether.