The truth behind the JWST photo of a question mark in space

2023-08-11 08:43:00, Kuriozitete CNA

The truth behind the JWST photo of a question mark in space

Scientists spotted the shape of a hidden question mark in a deep space image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.

They couldn't be more emphatic: "This is not a hoax," the European Space Agency told DW when we asked. But can you blame us for the control?

This "question mark" spotted by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) 1,470 light-years from our planet has to be the most meme-like random find since the spacecraft launched on December 25, 2021.

It was hidden in a high-resolution image of "a tightly bound pair of actively forming stars known as Herbig-Haro 46/47 [...]," the European Space Agency explained. "Look for them in the center of the red diffraction spikes. The stars are buried deep, appearing as a white-on-orange blob."

But far below those red diffraction spots, and then a little to the right, you can clearly see what is clearly a question mark.

The truth behind the JWST photo of a question mark in space

The truth behind the question mark: perspective?

What makes this discovery so strange is that it's not about interpreting shapes and images of things, like you do when you imagine faces or animals in the clouds. There's no mistake: it's a question mark, all right.

"I'm not an astronomer, but [given] the prospect of an intelligent, super-advanced alien life form that manipulates galaxies to create ... characters, or two or three galaxies just collide and look like a '?,'" I would suggest that the latter seems much more likely," said this author's space expert, Malcolm Macdonald, a professor of spacecraft engineering at the University of Strathclyde, UK.

The mystery is somewhat magnified by the fact that this discovery was indeed an observation that has grown and spread on social media and other media.

Galaxies colliding make distinct shapes

As Agjencia Amerikane e Hapësirës NASA , ESA dhe as Agjencia Kanadeze e Hapësirës nuk duket se kanë bërë një punë të madhe nga shfaqja e një pikëpyetjeje në hapësirë. Fokusi i tyre kryesor kur kapnin këtë imazh të veçantë ishte vëzhgimi i formimit të yjeve.

Por kur u pyet, kreu i komunikimit shkencor i ESA-së, Kai Noeske tha se pikëpyetja "duket si një grup ose një shtrirje rastësore e dy ose tre galaktikave; pjesa e sipërme e pikëpyetjes duket si një galaktikë spirale e shtrembëruar, ndoshta duke u bashkuar me një galaktikë të dytë. ."

Dhe pavarësisht se perspektiva e Macdonald-it është më e lidhur me satelitët, duket se teoria e galaktikave të përplasjes është aq afër së vërtetës sa do ta kuptojmë tani.

"Galaxies collide a lot, so it's plausible that when we start looking closely at all these different collisions, we'll see one that looks like a familiar shape when viewed from our particular perspective."

In its less than two years of operation (so far), JWST has provided some of the most stunning images of space and helped researchers better understand some amazing space phenomena. No doubt that very soon it will come to the mystery of the question mark./DW

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