The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has already expanded humanity’s view in time and space more than ever before, giving a peek into the deepest, most accurate infrared image of the early universe to date.
Now, NASA has just revealed five stunning full-color photos taken by the most ambitious telescope ever made by mankind.
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Gregory L. Robinson, director of the James Webb Space Telescope Program, said in the run-up to the reveal.
The boy was right!
The images were of course colorized during processing, so while they may not be accurate to the naked eye, they still represent real data and make it easier for scientists to distinguish and understand the complex structures being imaged. These improvements are for information only.
Surprisingly, what we see here is just five days of images from the telescope!! It’s the culmination of decades of hard work from so many people around the world and it’s only the beginning. So, feast your eyes on these amazing visions that are clearer and more detailed than ever before.
Southern Ring Nebula
What you can see below are stunning waves of death from the Southern Ring Nebula – shells of gas trembling from dying stars.
The Southern Ring Nebula AKA NGC 3132 is located about 2,000 light-years away and is a brilliant glowing bubble in the southern constellation of Vela.
There are two stars in its center, which can be clearly seen in the photo on the right below. Dim is a white dwarf. The core of a dead star collapsed, during its life the mass of the Sun was up to eight times. Reaching the end of its life, its outer layers blew, and its core collapsed into a super-dense object: up to 1.4 times the mass of the Sun, packed into an Earth-size object. Although it still shines, it is caused by residual heat. Over billions of years, it will cool and turn into a dead dark being.
For the first time, JWST was able to detect this dust-covered star. The brighter star is in the early stage of its evolution, and will one day explode in its own nebula.
On the left, a near-infrared webcam (NIRCam) reveals bubbling orange hydrogen from newly formed expansions as well as a blue haze of hot ionized gas from the hot residual core of the dead star.
On the right, in the image captured by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), the blue hydrocarbons form patterns similar to the orange in the previous image, as they collect on the surface of the hydrogen dust rings.
Webb will allow astronomers to delve into many specific details about planetary nebulae like this one. NASA explains. “Understanding the molecules that are present, and where they are found throughout the shells of gas and dust will help researchers improve their knowledge of these things.”
To provide context on the new level of detail, here’s Hubble’s view of the Southern Ring Nebula, taken in 1998.
Read more About the image of the Southern Ring Nebula.
deep field image
We’ve already seen the deep field image of SMACS 0723, filled with galaxies frozen in time billions of years ago. Today, the Webb team provided more insights into the image.
Why are some of the galaxies in this image curved? The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a “gravitational lens,” bending rays of light from distant galaxies behind them, magnifying them. Light from the farthest galaxy here has traveled 13.1 billion years to us. pic.twitter.com/XaZkngQqvg
– NASA’s Web Telescope (NASAWebb) 12 July 2022
Read more About the image of Deep Field.
One of JWST’s targets was the exoplanet WASP-96b, a hot, puffy world very close to its star, with only 3.5 Earth-day orbits. It orbits a Sun-like star 1,150 light-years away.
WASP-96b has less than half a mass Jupiter Its diameter is 1.2 times larger, so it is more puffy than any gas giant we have in our solar system – and also hotter with temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (538 degrees Celsius).
What is astonishing is that JWST was able to detect evidence of clouds and haze in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, capturing the “characteristic footprint of water”.
By observing a slight decrease in the brightness of certain colors of light over a 6.4 hour period on June 21, JWST was able to detect the presence of certain gas molecules around the planet. This is the most detailed observation of an exoplanet’s atmosphere we have ever received.
How it works? When an exoplanet passes between us and its host star – what’s known as a transit – a small, very small, amount of the star’s light must pass through the star’s atmosphere, if it has one. Scientists can look at the spectrum of this light to look for brighter or fainter wavelengths of light that are absorbed and re-emitted by elements in the atmosphere. This can tell us what those elements are.
What is interesting is that Previous notes It was suggested that WASP-96b has a clear, cloudless atmosphere. So we still have a lot to learn about this strange exoplanet.
This isn’t the first time we’ve detected water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet – the Hubble Space Telescope He did this in 2013 But Webb’s discovery is much faster and more detailed, and it only hints at the potential of what lies ahead for our understanding of space worlds.
Read more About WASP-96b Notes.
Stephan’s Quintet is a group of galaxies trapped in a cosmic dance with collisions and new stars exploding into existence (red areas in the image below).
The new JWST image of Stefan’s pentagram is so huge, it covers an area of the sky one-fifth of the moonIts diameter (as seen from Earth) and contains more than 150 million pixels. It’s created from nearly 1,000 image files – and helps us understand how these dramatic galactic interactions shape the evolution of galaxies.
In the highest galaxy in this image, NGC 7319, scientists have identified signs of material orbiting a huge mass Black hole. The light energy that it extinguishes from all the matter it ingests is 40 billion times that of our sun.
While five galaxies are seen, only four are actually close together – the one on the left, NGC 7320, is much closer to us at 40 million light-years away, while the other galaxies are about 290 million light-years away.
You can compare the JWST image to the 2009 Hubble view.
The Webb mosaic is its largest image yet, covering an area of the sky 1/5 the diameter of the moon (as seen from Earth). It contains more than 150 million pixels and is generated from around 1,000 image files. Compare the new photo with Tweet embed2009 show, shown here! pic.twitter.com/SbulK1GIjN
– NASA’s Web Telescope (NASAWebb) 12 July 2022
Read more about the picture over here.
Last, but by no means least, is the gorgeous Carina Nebula as we’ve never seen it before – complete with hundreds of new stars. This stunning image shows the edge of a nearby star-forming region also called NGC 3324.
The stunning detail in the JWST infrared image provides an incredible sense of depth and texture, and there are many mysterious new structures to explore.
The highest peak in this image, known as the Cosmic Cliffs, is an astonishing 7 light-years high, with blue ionized gas emitting intense radiation.
The top is where stars born of life explode and the stellar winds they produce push away the orange gases, which in turn ignite new stars or could ignite them before they are ever made.
What is even more impressive is that we are all made up of the same stellar objects that we can see in this image.
Read more About the image of the Carina Nebula.
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