The universe is vast with imperial possibilities of stars, galaxies, and endless amounts of celestials. The space is a place that has always been a subject of fascination and an arena of the unknown that everyone wants to explore. There might be an occurrence of new galaxies which have emerged after the discovery of well-known phenomena such as the Milky Way and the occurrence of the Big Bang.
The unknown never ceases to tease a sense of thrill and nervousness, especially in the arena of astronomy. There is so much to know yet the access to being outside of our green and comfortable planet for exploring them scares us.
Galaxies are not a singular concept. It is a collectively vast phenomenon with repeated instances and occurrences which cannot be predicted accurately and not even by scientists or astronomers.
What could be the answers to the burning questions that arise when we are studying space? Let’s find out.
1. Origin of Galaxies
Galaxies have been forming and evolving millions and billions of years ago. Their formation and origin can’t be given a time but their process can be explained vividly.
The origin of galaxies can be traced from their name in the first place. It can be derived from the Ancient Greek culture, mythological elements were referred to understand where the idea of astronomy and the existence of galaxies originated from. It is believed that the story behind its origins is closely related to the myth of a Greek Goddess, Hera.
The urban legend goes so that the observers of the night sky had guessed at that time the white spot in the sky was described as the remains of the mother’s milk which were spilled by goddess Hera when she was nursing the mythical Hercules.
1.1 Factor of Visibility
Galaxies are not visible to the naked eye and are intricate, complex, and cannot be spotted within the earth’s sky. However, if we study how scientists have structured the solar system and the spacial universe in general, we can observe that small galaxies are scattered just before the planets. If that’s the case, why are they not visible?
They are of different sizes, shapes, and structures. To answer the question posed, one has to remember that time on earth is vastly varied when compared to the time that passes by in space. Simply put across, objects may not be as close as they appear in space!
2. Scientists’ Discovery of the Milky Way
Before diving deep into the new unaware galaxies that we are so intrigued about, let’s look at the most commonly talked about galaxy which was found by scientists and studied so extensively upon.
The discovery of the Milky Way Galaxy opened a lot of doors for further exploration into the fascinating unknown. Ancient Greek philosophers have theorized that Milky Way was a collection of stars which was grouped in space. Let’s pose an argument here. What if this Milky Way can be any random group of stars present? How do the scientists prove it?
With the advent of modernism, and even in the Victorian era, changes began to be implemented in society. People and subjects were given the incentive to think of their own accord and didn’t believe in the theories that came forward without any legitimate explanation. Legitimate in this sense translated to ‘scientific explanation’ which was rampant in its influence making it a necessity in a human’s life.
2.1 First Finding
The first scientific proof after the proposal of the Milky Way’s structure came in 1610. Galileo Gallelli was the scientist who came up with the proof of its existence. With the help of his first makeshift telescope, he was able to spot a cluster of countless stars thereby proving the existence of the Milky Way Galaxy as theorized by the Greek philosophers.
Immanuel Kant, by 1775 had proposed a theory that the Milky Way is a cluster of stars that are held together as a result of mutual gravity. This theory came after the first evidence but the scientific aspect was still a doubt. As a vast subject, questions keep arising especially if it’s about the milky way and astronomy.
Legitimate evidence was provided in the 1920s by Edwin Hubble provided conclusive evidence that spiral nebulae were whole other galaxies. With this, it was also proved there was the existence of new galaxies which were separated from large clusters of stars and are smaller and developing.
3. The Emergence of New Galaxies
Astronomy is a complex topic with jagged edges and softened corners, the variety always changing with no uniformity. Scientists and astronomers have come together to discover all the elements that have been left to explore. With that extensive research, it was found that new galaxies were emerging.
These galaxies weren’t found easily with the help of normal equipment and required special tools to get the structure and proof of their existence. One of the most important tools that will help scientists in providing the new impetus on the road path to discovering evolving and new galaxies is the James Webb Telescope.
The James Webb Telescope changed the view on the evolution of galaxies and their impeding growth. It was considered the most powerful telescope in the world and it was the tool that led to the discovery on never seen-before galaxies that had come to light.
3.1 Evidence & Pictures
Scientists have proposed that the universe can be described as a place where stars are born and interaction between galaxies and a unique view of an ‘exoplanet’ with help of images that were captured by the James Webb telescope.
These pictures become significant in proving the existence of their evolution. The development of this astronomy arena started in 2004 but it came into effect only recently on December 25, 2022.
These images are revolutionary, and they will have the power to change the way we look at the universe, physically and metaphorically.
3.2 First Images
Joe Biden on coming across the images has remarked that ‘it is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the universe till date’ according to the sources, NASA. This highlights the magnitude and significance the images hold in the world of astronomy.
3.2.1 Galaxy Clusters
The first image which came to light at the end of 2022, was called SMACS 0723. It included massive galaxy clusters which served as magnifying glasses to see the intricate and minute objects that exist.
This method is called gravitational lensing, this gave raise to Webb’s first deep-field view and the oldest and faintest galaxies came to be discovered by scientists. These distant galaxies which are faintly visible on this telescope were clusters that were never seen before, and their age was determined to be older in comparison almost 4.6 billion years ago.
Webb’s other primary targets of the subject included the Carina Nebula, WASP-96 b, the Southern Ring Nebula, and Stephan’s Quintet.
3.2.2 WASP 96 b
James Webb’s study focused on the details of WASP 96 b. It had the most detailed spectrum as an exoplanet. It is one of the largest giant gas planets and it reveals information about the planet and its atmosphere. According to scientists, WASP 96 b is located 1,150 light years away from Earth.
When compared with Jupiter, it was seen that it had half of its mass and orbits around its star every 3.4 years.
According to NASA, it was found that there was evidence of water and traces of cloud and haze, in the atmosphere seen to be surrounding a hot, puffy giant gas planet orbiting a Sun-like star.
Therefore, this planet was part of the million elements or celestials that were hidden in the vast universe. With the help of James Webb’s telescope, we can find out the hidden elements that are embedded within the sky. However, scientists have commented that these findings are ‘barely scratching’ the surface of what is there to find in the astronomy field.
3.2.3 The Southern Ring Nebula
The Southern Ring Nebula is another one of the explorations which were made by James Webb. It is found to be 2,000 light years away from Earth. There is a unique phenomenon that this galaxy cluster is known to do. After the death of a very old star, there is the spread of expanding cloud of gas.
The almost dead star is surrounded with dust while another brighter star evolved out from the cloud of gas spreading thanks to the Southern Ring Nebula. After releasing a new expanding cloud of gas, these stars orbit around each other stirring more gas and dust resulting in the patterns shown in the image.
3.2.4 Stephan’s Quintet
Through the views of the telescope, it is shown that galaxies interact with each other. This galaxy cluster group was discovered in 1877 and is located 290 meters away in the constellation Pegasus. Four of the five galaxies are interlocked together in a continuous series of patterns according to the telescope. To be specific, they were interlinked in a series of the cosmic dance of repeated close encounters.
This image provides a brief idea of how galaxies can interact with each other and can trigger star formation leading to a specific structure or pattern.
The James Webbs Study or whatever was found with the powerful tool, we can conclude that there are millions of elements in a vast place like the universe. The developments in the world of astronomy are moving at a slower pace because of its uncertainty of the unknown.
The modern world however waits for no one. At this rate, we can crack the surface level of what’s hidden in the unknown, as time passes, the determination of all celestials in the sky will become known with scientific developments.