Space & Science

The James Webb Telescope spots its first supernova

“First, it’s exciting because we’ve shown that we’re able to find and detect new transients with Webb, which JWST isn’t designed to do,” Engesser continued. “But that’s one of the things that we show we’re capable of doing on an ad hoc basis.”

The James Webb Telescope spots its first supernova

JWST

The discovery of celestial objects like supernovae is usually left to ground-based telescopes, which makes the discovery even more exciting and unique. It showcases JWST’s unique versatility and power.

The new discovery is particularly exceptional because JWST only looks at small parts of the sky compared to ground-based telescopes.

“So the actual probability of you finding a transient in the field you’re looking at is quite low — or at least we thought it would be low,” Engesser said. “But as you’ve probably heard, every JWST field is a deep field at this point, so there are galaxies everywhere, and now we’re thinking, oh, we might have a really good chance of detecting supernovae all the time. .”

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