This was a $10bn gift to the world. a machine that would show our place in the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope was launched exactly one year ago on Christmas Day. It had taken three decades to plan, design and build.
Many wondered whether this successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope could actually live up to expectations.
We had to wait several months while its epic 6.5m primary mirror was assembled and focused, and its other systems were tested and calibrated.
But indeed they said that everything would be so. The American, European and Canadian space agencies continue to release color images for the first time in July. What you see on this page are some pictures published later that may have been omitted.
The first thing you remember about James Webb was the infrared telescope. He sees the sky in an equality of light, beyond what our eyes can discern.
Astronomers use different cameras to explore regions of the cosmos, such as giant gas and dust towers. The pillars were Hubble’s favorite target. It would take you several years to travel through this entire scene at the speed of light.
They call this scene the Cosmic Rocks. At the edge of the hollow is a vast, gaseous, dusty interior of the star nebula known as the Carina.
The cavity was carved by intense ultraviolet radiation and winds from hot, young stars just ejected.
The distance from one side of this image to the other is roughly 15 light years. One light year is equal to about 9.46 trillion km (5.88 trillion miles).
This large galaxy to the right was discovered by the Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky in the 1940s. The intricate spinning wheel is the result of a head-on collision with another galaxy. Its diameter is about 145,000 light years.
The planet Neptune
James Webb doesn’t just look deep into the universe. It also objects in our solar world. This gem is the eighth planet from the Sun: Neptune was seen with its rings. The little white dots around it are the moon, and so is the big “pointed” star above. Neptune’s satellite Triton. A key artifact of the James Webb way is the mirror system being constructed.
Read more: Neptune’s Ring Captured by the James Webb Telescope
Orion is one of the most famous regions of the sky. It is a star region, or nebula, about 1,350 light-years from Earth. Here, Webb features a picture called the Orion Bar, which is a thick wall of gas and dust.
In one of the big space stories of the year, Nasa raced a spacecraft to an asteroid, called Dimorphos, to see if it could deflect the 160m-wide path of the rock. It was a proof of war to defend the Earth from threatening asteroids. James Webb took the hit of a thousand-ton shower of debris.
Read more: Asteroid deflection test boosted by debris
This was one of Webb’s most intriguing photographs of the year. The “WR” refers to Wolf-Rayet. A star is a kind, a great thing that reaches the end of its life. Wolf-Rayets waves a vast expanse of gaseous winds. The unseen comet star in this image compresses those winds to form dust. You see dusty plumes extending outwards over 10 trillion km. This is 70,000 times the distance between the Earth and our Sun.
Read more: Dusty star mystery solved by James Webb telescope
M74, nicknamed the Phantom Galaxy, is known for its showy spiral arms. It is about 32 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces, and is almost directly opposite us, giving Webb a perfect view of those weapons and their structure. Telescope detectors are especially useful for picking up all the fine gas and dust particles.
You can still listen to Jonathan’s Discovery program for the BBC World Service in which he talks about the Webb project with his scientists and engineers.
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