About the Object

Name: MACS J0138.0 -2155
Distance: 10 billion light years
Category: Galaxies

Colours & filters

Infrared 1.15 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 1.5 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 2.0 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 2.77 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 3.56 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 4.44 μmJames Webb Space Telescope

Webb spots a second lensed supernova in a distant galaxy

In November 2023, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope observed a massive cluster of galaxies named MACS J0138.0-2155. Through an effect called gravitational lensing, first predicted by Albert Einstein, a distant galaxy named MRG-M0138 appears warped by the powerful gravity of the intervening galaxy cluster. In addition to warping and magnifying the distant galaxy, the gravitational lensing effect caused by MACS J0138 produces five different images of MRG-M0138.

In 2019, astronomers announced the surprising find that a stellar explosion, or supernova, had occurred within MRG-M0138, as seen in images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope taken in 2016. When another group of astronomers examined the 2023 Webb images, they were astonished to find that seven years later, the same galaxy is home to a second supernova. 

Two images of the supernova (circled) are seen in the Webb NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image above, but an additional supernova image is expected to become visible around 2035. 

In this image blue represents light at 1.15 and 1.5 microns (F115W+F150), green is 2.0 and 2.77 microns (F200W+277W), and red is 3.56 and 4.44 microns (F356W + F444W).

These observations were taken as part of Webb Director’s Discretionary Time program 6549.

Note: This post highlights data from Webb science in progress, which has not yet been through the peer-review process.


NASA, ESA, CSA, J. Pierel (STScI), D. Newman (Carnegie), A. Pagan (STScI)

About the Image

Id: supernova-encore1
Type: Collage
Release date: 21 December 2023, 17:00
Size: 8629 x 4368 px

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