It had been a little more than a week since the Independence Day celebrations, but the crowd that had gathered at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland was so excited that every audience member had a firework display. They were there because the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a technological marvel that had been launched the previous December, had finally returned brilliant and detailed images of the universe. But the crowd was about to see them for the first time – and literally witness history in the making.
Since that historic day in 2022, more and more NASA images have been released from JWST, and both astronomers and laypeople alike have been repeatedly amazed. Considering it cost $10 billion in total by the time construction was completed in 2016, it’s a relief that the telescope has finally lived up to the hype.
To celebrate this astronomical milestone, we’ve put together seven memorable images of JWST from 2022 — its first year in operation. Images range from the last galaxies ever seen to striking our solar system at a new height.
1. SMACS 0723
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe. Known as the first deep Webb field, this image reveals the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 in great detail. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)To begin this list properly, let’s start with SMACS 0723, because that was the first image produced by JWST in full color. More importantly, SMACS 0723 is the brightest infrared image of the universe ever captured by a telescope.
“This image covers a patch of sky about the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. It’s a tiny sliver of the vast universe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson explained in a statement.
Historically, infrared light has been the most difficult part of the electromagnetic spectrum for astronomers to observe, at least from Earth. The Earth’s heat generates infrared light by itself, which is then scattered in the atmosphere, while astronomers using infrared can barely see it from a ground-based telescope. JWST, however, is released from the Earth’s boundary and, as such, needs to penetrate the Earth’s infrared light.
2. Carina Nebula
NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)
Technically known as NGC 3324, this section of the Carina Nebula could be mistaken at first glance due to the change in the drone image looking down where the coast meets the ocean. However, in this image, the red “sand” and the “blue water” are actually individual stars mixed together in an emerging star nursery. The Carina Nebula is not so far away (especially compared to the previous image): it is part of our Milky Way Galaxy, specifically in its Carina-Sagittarius arm. This particular observation is also known as Cosmic Rocks.
“These observations will shed light on NGC 3324’s star formation process. Star birth is propagated over time, triggered by the expansion of the living room cavity,” NASA wrote. “The bright, ionized plume moves into the nebula, slowly pushing it into vapor and dust. If the plume hits any unstable material, the increased pressure will cause the material to collapse and form new stars.”
3. Stephen’s Quintet
Galaxy group “Stephen’s Quintet” (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)
Located in the constellation Pegasus — named after the winged horse from Greek mythology — the Stephen Quintet is more or less what it sounds like: five galaxies, with four of them constituting the first compact galaxy group ever discovered. Through JWST, scientists can see both these galaxies and celestial bodies in an unusual way. The images show that the two galaxies are now merging with each other, giving us insight into how galactic interactions result in star formation.
“The image also shows the outflows of the black hole in the Stephen Quintet plane in detail never before seen,” said the NASA communications team about the image.
4. Tarantula Nebula
Tarantula Nebula interstellar region institute (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO)
This is the image of the Tarantula Nebula, known as 30 Dorados, although many have compared it to an abstract portrait of a seated bipedal man. In fact, this is another interstellar nursery that was uniquely captured by JWST’s infrared cameras. The Tarantula Nebula is found roughly 16,000 light-years from Earth in the Magellanic Cloud. The best known is the black hole VFTS 243, the first discovered outside the Milky Way galaxy that does not radiate strongly. The hottest and most massive stars known to man can be found in the Tarantula Nebula.
“The cavity nebula in the NIRCam image has been hollowed out by radiation corrosion from a cluster of massive young stars, which glow pale blue in the image,” NASA explained on its website. “Only the densest surrounding nebulae resist erosion by these stars’ more powerful stellar winds, forming columns that appear to point back into the cluster. These columns contain protostar formation, which eventually emerge from the dusty surface and in turn form the nebula.”
5. The Southern Nebula
Webb’s two planetary nebula mapping spacecraft captured the latest image of this planetary nebula, which is NGC 3132 and is known as the Southern Ring Nebula. It is about 2500 light years away. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)The Southern Mist Ringo could easily be mistaken for a tentacle-less jellyfish. The only signs that destroy such an illusion are the waves that emanate from its central core: Is this the space of a monster, or I don’t know what kind of pulsating celestial body?
In fact, this is a nebula – the Nebula of the Southern Ring, he demanded.
Publicly speaking, NGC 3132, a planetary nebula is created when a dying star ejects large amounts of mass through continuous waves, such as we see in these images. This image is notable for its cinematography: After it was released, astronomers noticed a narrow filament near the top of the nebula, which is radiatively variable and appears to be blue in the near-infrared image. While some scientists don’t believe it’s anything amazing, others think there’s a line in the galaxy. Further investigation revealed that this filament was indeed a fringe in the galaxy.
Through more recent research by JWST, scientists also now know that “there were at least two, and possibly three, invisible stars that make up the oblong, curvy Southern Ring Nebula. Using data from ESA’s (European Space Agency) Gaia observatory, researchers were able to pinpoint the mass of the central star.” before He created a cloud. “
6. “Aroused” the Southern Ring Nebula
Webb’s image of the Southern Ring Nebula features scattered molecular outflows that have reached far into the cosmos (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO)
JWST took another photo of the aforementioned nebula with a different camera, and in the process discovered that astronomers had previously been unaware of the astronomical object, namely that there are at least two or three invisible stars that helped form the nebula. as we know it today.
For this image, the NASA website explains that “the Webb image reveals scattered molecular fluxes that have reached further into the cosmos” and “the blue and green data are assigned to Webb’s near-infrared data taken at 2.12 and 4.7 microns (F212N and F470N), and the red data is assigned to average Webb data taken within 7.7 microns (F770W).” In addition, the JWST astronomers combined the data with information from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia observatory to learn the exact mass of the central star before it created the nebula.
7. A new aspect of Jupiter
Webb NIRCam composite image of Jupiter from three filters – F360M (red), F212N (yellow-green), and F150W2 (cyan) – and alignment due to the planet’s rotation. (NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team)
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and the fifth from the Sun. When you see a quilt, your mind probably imagines a giant ball of red, gold, white, and yellow ribbons. You’re also most definitely thinking of the iconic Great Red Spot south of the equator.
JWST, however, using three special infrared filters, gave us new data about Jupiter in 2022, and measured the different wavelengths of light emitted by the atmosphere. After converting that data into images — using colored inks, as humans can’t see infrared — NASA scientists created an unprecedented and accurate view of Jupiter. Here he allows the viewers to perceive the auroras, or beautiful light that appear in the sky, as they are in the atmosphere of Jupiter. It also indicates winds, storms, and roars as high as the temperature.
from the James Webb Space Telescope:
#beautiful #images #James #Webb #Space #Telescopes #year