350 million years after the Big Bang, scientists have discovered traces of “heavy” elements in distant galaxies. The authors of the new study said such amounts could only appear after the first supernova explosion. The first hypothetical stars (population III) were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. There were few other elements in the young universe. The chemical diversity of the universe increased only after the first supernova explosion. But without the “heavy” elements, neither planets nor the universe as we know it would have formed. To understand the properties of these stars and their supernovae, scientists have conducted extensive theoretical research. Because their “lifespans” were short, we have no way of seeing these objects directly. However, the “chemical signature” of the supernova can be seen. Astronomers are looking for them both in the Milky Way and in distant galaxies. With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, researchers will explore the physics of galaxies with redshifts greater than 10, or galaxies at the end of the “dawn of the universe” era (150 to 350 million years after the Big Bang).
Previously, scientists could only extrapolate data from observations of closer objects. Astrophysicists can now directly observe the earliest galaxies. Of course, they are primarily interested in unusual objects. However, James Webb’s observations also include “ordinary” galaxies. Unfortunately, the sensitivity of the telescopes during the JADES survey was not sufficient to detect the emission lines in the spectra and determine the physical properties of these galaxies. Therefore, this telescope was installed for an observation period of more than 50 hours as part of the PID 3215 program. In a new paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, scientists present the first analysis of new spectral data from the galaxy GLASS-z12. Importantly, they found carbon in it and also detected weak signals of oxygen and neon.