Study the next interstellar intruder on Webb

This artist’s illustration shows the first identified interstellar object 1I /’Oumuamua discovered in 2017. Before racing out of the solar system, an evil object shook within 24 million miles of the sun. 1I /’Oumuamua is still against simple classification. It did not behave like a comet and had various anomalous characteristics. There are many models of what an object will look like because the complex rotation of the object makes it difficult to determine the exact shape. Credits: NASA, ESA, and J.Olmsted and F.Summers (STScI)

One of the most exciting discoveries in planetary science in recent years is the discovery of interstellar objects that pass through the solar system. So far, astronomers have identified only two of these invaders from other star systems, 1I /’Oumuamua in 2017 and 2I / Borisov in 2018, but more. Is believed to exist. Scientists had limited ability to study these objects once discovered, but NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is changing everything.

“The highest sensitivity and power of the Web is to investigate the chemical composition of these interstellar objects, about their properties, where they came from, how they were made, and what they tell us. It gives us an unprecedented opportunity to know what we can tell about the conditions that exist in their home system, “said Martin Cordiner, Principal Investigator of the Webb Target of Opportunity Program for Studying Interstellar Object Composition. explained.

Cordiner, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said: American Catholic University. The first two interstellar objects detected were very different. One was very comet-like and the other was not. Cordiner and his team want to find out how unique these objects are and whether they represent a wider population of interstellar objects.

Trigger process

Astronomers are constantly monitoring a variety of sources, from amateur observers to professional observatories, in the hope of finding the next interstellar intruder. When the next such object is first detected, scientists do not immediately know if it is an interstellar object. Depending on the brightness, additional observations may be required over days, weeks, or even months for confirmation.

Once we have verified that the object came from outside the solar system based on its “hyperbolic” trajectory and that the object did not come from outside our own solar system or the Oort cloud, we calculated the trajectory. You can of objects that cross the sky. If that trajectory intersects Webb’s field of view, Cordiner and his team will make an observation.


The team uses the spectroscopic capabilities of Webb for both. Near infrared A mid-infrared band for studying two different aspects of interstellar objects. First, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRSpec) is used to analyze the chemical fingerprints of the gas emitted by the object as the potentially existing ice vaporizes due to the heat of the sun. Second, use a mid-infrared device (MIRI) to observe the dust generated by the object. Larger particles; and even pebbles that can be lifted from the surface and surround the object.

Study the next interstellar intruder on Webb

This 2I / Borisov comet Hubble Space Telescope image shows the first observed rogue comet, a comet from an interstellar space that is not bound to a star by gravity. Discovered in 2019, it is the second most identified interstellar object after Oumuamua. 2I / Borisov is very similar to a traditional comet in the solar system. When warmed by the sun, this comet sublimates ice and emits dust. The wandering comet provided valuable clues to the chemical composition, structure, and dust properties of the planetary building blocks, perhaps forged in the alien star system. It will move rapidly away from our Sun and eventually return to the interstellar space and will never return. Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

NIRSpec’s high spectral resolution allows teams to detect specific molecules such as water, methanol, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane because they can detect emissions from individual gases. MIRI is further tuned to the thermal spectrum produced by solid particles such as dust particles and object nuclei with mid-infrared light.

Powerful new insights

In our own solar system, comets are the remains of ice from the era of planetary formation around our Sun, thus providing unique insights into the chemical conditions that exist in the early history of our solar system. can. This Webb program has the ability to reveal for the first time similarly powerful insights into the chemistry of the formation of planets around other stars.

Astronomers do not fully understand the exact chemical processes involved in the formation of planets. For example, how do planets come from simple chemicals? Does it happen the same around all the stars? Was there anything unique to the way our own planets are formed around our Sun compared to how they are formed around other stars elsewhere in the galaxy? If scientists can obtain evidence of the chemical states that exist in other planetary systems by observing interstellar objects and observing what they are made of, the true chemistry possible in those other planetary systems. You can get a much clearer image of the range of.

Webb new window

In these important near-infrared and mid-infrared wavelength ranges, interstellar objects have not been observed so far, so the possibility of new discoveries is enormous. With trillions of interstellar objects flying around the galaxy, we don’t know what the team is trying to find, but we know it will be fascinating.

“Webb allows us to do very interesting science in very dark sizes and brightness,” explained teammate Christina Thomas, an assistant professor of astronomy at Northern Arizona University. “Also, we couldn’t observe interstellar objects in this infrared region. This opens up many opportunities for features of different compositions of interest, which will be of great benefit to us. ! “

The James Webb Space Telescope is one of the world’s leading space science observatories. Webb solves our mystery Solar systemLook around the distant world around other stars and explore the mysterious structure and origin of our universe and our places within it. Webb is an international program led by NASA and its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

Video: Science by Webb: Near Universe

Quote: Https: // (February 17, 2022) obtained on February 17, 2022 from the next interstellar intruder the study

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

Study the next interstellar intruder on Webb

Source link Study the next interstellar intruder on Webb

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button