Since the first photos from NASA’s new James Webb debuted in July, the innovative telescope has released a steady stream of stunning images.
The $10 billion James Webb Telescope, which replaced the aging Hubble Telescope and launched into space in December 2021, has captured distant galaxies, glittering stars light-years away, and a new image of Jupiter.
Here are five of the most impressive photos taken by James Webb to date.
South Ring Nebula
One of the most widespread on the web is the South Ring Nebulawhich was one of the first photos of Webb published on July 12.
Webb captured the remains of a white dwarf, the remnant of a star that burned through all of its nuclear fuel and ejected its outer shell in a planetary nebula.
The telescope collected the images in infrared light. Compared to Hubble, the James Webb Telescope can capture space in the infrared with much more power, “providing never-before-seen views of the universe,” NASA officials wrote on the agency’s website.
NASA released an image of the South Ring Nebula in near-infrared (NIRcam) and mid-infrared (MIRcam) light, with the former closer to a visible wavelength than the normal human eye can see, making its images more colorful and high resolution.
The MIRcam, however, can capture objects in more detail. For example, the mid-infrared image of the South Ring Nebula shows a clearer image of a bright star, shining in the background just beyond the white dwarf.
Another popular image is cosmic cliffs, the edge of a star-forming region that NASA likened to “craggy mountains on a moonlit night.”
The young star-forming region called NGC 3324 is more than 7,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula. NASA photos of this place in the universe reveal a massive gaseous cavity at the edge of NGC 3324 in a collage of orange and blue.
“The cavernous area has been carved out of the nebula by intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from young, hot, extremely massive stars located in the center of the bubble,” the officials wrote on the website.
In NIRcam, viewers can see hundreds of stars hidden from the normal human eye, as well as numerous galaxies shining in the background.
NGC 3324 was first recorded by astronomer James Dunlop in 1826.
wagon wheel galaxy
East Aug. 2 photos from Cartwheel Galaxy bears resemblance to a bright red galactic Ferris wheel in space.
The Cartwheel Galaxy formed about 400 million years ago as a result of high-speed collisions. Webb caught it forming in a “transient phase,” because images of the universe light-years away were peering into the past, due to the time it takes to reach and record them.
This spiral galaxy is made up of two rings, a brighter inner ring and a colorful outer ring, according to NASA. Inside the wagon wheel are spokes, or bright red streaks created by shiny, hydrocarbon-rich dust.
by Webb most recent image released this week is a beautiful image of Earth’s neighbor in the solar system.
A composite of three filters, the image of Jupiter reveals “swirling mists around the north and south poles” of the gas giant planetary.
It also highlights the Great Red Spot, a storm so big it would swallow the Earth, in a large white band around the gas giant.
Imke de Pater, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, who co-led the Jupiter observations, said the team was surprised by the details of the planet.
“We didn’t expect it to be this good,” Pater said in a statement on NASA’s blog. “It’s really remarkable that we can see details about Jupiter along with its rings, small satellites and even galaxies in a single image.”
Galaxy cluster SMACS 0723
Although it looks a bit messy, this image is impressive because it shows thousands of galaxies in a distant cluster known as SMACS 0723.
This image, one of the first photos released by Webb on July 12, is the telescope’s first deep-field image.
In the center of the image is a bright white elliptical galaxy that dwarfs the rest, stretching its spiky arms in five directions. All around it are galaxies of all shapes and sizes, filling the image and showing just how massive the universe is.
This image was historical, NASA wrote in July, when he showed how Webb “will enable future researchers to accurately catalog the precise compositions of galaxies in the early universe, which may ultimately reshape our understanding of how galaxies changed and evolved over billions of years” .
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