On Monday, US President Joe Biden released one of the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, which NASA described as “the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.”
NASA has released more photos, showing “a dying star cloaked by dust and layers of light” from the James Webb Space Telescope.
“The new details from Webb will transform our understanding of how stars evolve and influence their environments,” according to the space agency.
The following side-by-side comparison shows observations of the Southern Ring Nebula, also known as the “Eight-Burst,” in near-infrared light and mid-infrared light.
“Every image is a new discovery. Each will give humanity a view of the universe that we’ve never seen before,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said.
The Southern Ring Nebula is 2,000 light-years away from our planet.
The US space agency then revealed a photo of Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies. According to NASA, this “enormous mosaic” is Webb’s largest image to date, covering about one-fifth of the Moon’s diameter.
“It contains over 150 million pixels and is constructed from almost 1,000 separate image files.”
This compact galaxy group, which was first discovered in 1787, is located 290 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus. According to NASA, four of the five galaxies in the group “are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters.”
Galaxies collide in Stephan’s Quintet, pulling and stretching each other in a gravitational dance. In the mid-infrared view here, see how Webb pierces through dust, giving new insight into how interactions like these may have driven galaxy evolution in the early universe. pic.twitter.com/3P15LMCCOH
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) July 12, 2022
Meanwhile, yet another stunning image from the Webb telescope reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth – the Carina Nebula, located 7,600 light-years away.
“Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest ‘peaks’ in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image,” NASA said.
Reacting to the images from the telescope, Bill Nelson said that the Webb “represents the best of NASA”:
“It maintains our ability to propel us forward for science, for risk-taking, for inspiration. We don’t want to ever stop exploring the heavens or stop daring to take another step forward for humanity.”
The telescope has also captured the distinct signature of water on a giant gas planet which orbits a star 1,150 light-years away, NASA revealed on Tuesday.”
JWST has captured the distinct signature of water, along with evidence for clouds and haze, in the atmosphere surrounding a hot, puffy gas giant planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star,” NASA said in a press release. NASA identified the planet as WAP-96 b.
The image is the most detailed of its kind ever taken and it confirms the JWST’s unprecedented ability to analyze atmospheres hundreds of light-years away, NASA said. The space agency described the impact of the first Webb images as “the dawn of a new era in astronomy.”
On Monday, US President Joe Biden released one of the first images from the Webb telescope, which, according to Nelson, was “the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.”
The image featured SMACS 0723, where a massive group of galaxy clusters acts as a magnifying glass for the objects behind them. The galaxy cluster is shown as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago.”
This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground,” according to a NASA release.