A team of researchers recently identified an extensive galaxy structure named "Cosmic Vine”.
Why in the News?
- According to the study, the Cosmic Vine was spotted after poring over data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), humanity’s most powerful tool for peering into the far reaches of space and time.
About Cosmic Vine:
- It is a massive “vine-like structure” that encompasses 20 galaxies and stretches for over 13 light years.
- It’s also very ancient. The researchers pegged it at redshift 3.44, meaning it’s situated in the early universe. (Redshift refers to the way light stretches as it travels longer distances through time, with higher redshifts indicating an object is older).
- A redshift of 3.44 would mean light from the Cosmic Vine has been traveling for between 11 and 12 billion years before reaching JWST. To provide context, current methods estimate the universe's age at 13.7 billion years.
- It harbors two of the most massive galaxies ever discovered at such a high redshift—Galaxy A and Galaxy E, both in a quiescent state, indicating a reduced rate of star formation.
- Researchers believe that the Vine might serve as the precursor to a galaxy cluster, providing insights into the formation of such clusters and the emergence of massive galaxies within them.
What is a Light Year?
- A light-year is a measurement of distance and not time (as the name might imply).
- It is the distance a beam of light travels in a single Earth year, which equates to approximately 6 trillion miles (9.7 trillion kilometers).
- It is used to measure the vast distances of space.
Q1) What is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)?
It was built in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency and was launched in December 2021. It's the largest, most powerful infrared space telescope ever built. It will examine every phase of cosmic history; from the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our Solar System.