SaddleBrooke Skygazers: Exploring the Ultra-Distant Universe at the January Skygazers Meeting

Sam Miller

The SaddleBrooke Skygazers Astronomy Club is pleased to host Dr. Kevin Hainline, an assistant research professor at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, on Sunday, Jan. 21, at the DesertView Theater, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, at 7 p.m. In this talk, UA astronomy professor Dr. Hainline will discuss the first year of science exploring the ultra-distant Universe with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). As a member of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey team, he has been on the front lines of discovering ultra-distant galaxies from the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. He will show off beautiful, deep-field images and discuss what we’ve learned about the early history of our Universe.

Dr. Hainline’s areas of interest include Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), Obscured Quasars in the Context of Galaxy Evolution, and high-redshift galaxies. He looks at the relationship between AGNs and star-forming galaxies, exploring how an active central supermassive black hole grows alongside its host galaxy. His research aims to understand the extent to which obscured AGNs can affect gas throughout their hosts. Dr. Hainline is also a member of the JWST/NIRCam Science team and will be using data from the JADES GTO survey to explore galaxy and AGN evolution at the highest redshifts. Previously, the Hubble Space Telescope data didn’t show a clear picture of how many (if any) galaxies existed in the young Universe. The James Webb Space Telescope Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) team, co-led by Steward Observatory’s Marcia Rieke, revealed that galaxies—and lots of them—were forming less than 600 million years after the Big Bang. Hainline uses this analogy: Imagine that the timeline of the Universe is a party and that galaxies are guests. Until JWST, astronomers imagined that galaxies didn’t start showing up for the party until quite late. But his latest paper shows that “as far back as we go in the party, people are showing up, and there’s a lot of them. In the first five minutes of a two-hour party, things are happening.” Understanding when galaxies first began forming in the storyline of the Universe is an act of understanding our own origins.

The SaddleBrooke Skygazers Astronomy Club meets monthly (and typically) on the second Sunday evening at 7 p.m. at the DesertView Theater. The next Star Parties are on Tuesday, Feb. 13; Wednesday, March 13; and Thursday, April 11, at the softball field parking lot from 7:15 to 9 p.m. The public is welcome to both. Club and Star Party information can be obtained by emailing Sam Miller at [email protected].