One of the first images taken by the James-Webb telescope is razor sharp

NASA has unveiled an image taken from the James Webb telescope of the large Magellanic cloud, a dwarf satellite galaxy in the Milky Way. While the telescope is still in its testing phase, this visual image allows you to realize its incredible possibilities. He thus obtained an adjustment Perfect “, according to the researchers who organized a press conference to talk about the topic.

en ” very good scientific example »Capacity of the James Webb Telescope

The image was taken by the James-Webb Telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), the coolest instrument it has on board, which focuses on light in the middle infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, ie the redshifted light of distant galaxies, star-forming stars and faintly visible comets.

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This image was compared to another image of the same region of the universe, captured by the Spitzer telescope, launched by NASA in 2003 and now retired, specializing in infrared light. The difference between the two images is striking. The one from the James-Webb Telescope shows the chemistry of interstellar gas in incredible detail, including the emission of carbon and hydrogen molecules called “ polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons considered some of the building blocks of life.

It is a very fine scientific example of what Webb will bring us in the years to come. said Chris Evans, chief scientist for the telescope at the European Space Agency during the press conference. ” We have done many studies of star and planet formation in our own galaxy, but here we are looking at it in the Magellanic clouds, a small outer galaxy that is less chemically developed than our way. Milky. This therefore gives us a chance to study the processes of formation of stars and planets … in an environment that is very different from our own galaxy. “, He continued.

Photographs of space taken by two different telescopes.

To the left, the large Magellanic cloud, captured by the Spitzer Telescope, to the right by the James-Webb Space Telescope. Image: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope / FlickR

To disrupt our knowledge of the universe

In addition to having sharper instruments and a much larger primary mirror than the Spitzer, the James-Webb telescope is also in a better position to observe infrared light with greater clarity thanks to its position. It sits at Lagrange Point 2, about 1.5 million kilometers away, where it can stay cool, which is essential for its instruments to work efficiently.

Launched on December 25, the James Webb Telescope has traveled nearly a month to reach its current abode, still performing a battery of commissioning tests, a phase called ” commissioning “By observing the universe from orange in the visible spectrum to the mid-infrared, the telescope should have been able to observe up to 13.5 billion years ago to see the first stars and galaxies formed in the darkness of the early universe. .

In addition to allowing us to understand the origin of the universe, it will also help scientists analyze the evolution of galaxies, the life cycle of stars, and study exoplanets. From now on, the James-Webb Telescope will take pictures of its scientific objectives, called preliminary observations. These will not only be the first images of these, but also the first images processed in color. In fact, if he sees the cosmos in the infrared and near infrared wavelengths, the images will be translated into visible light, explains Gizmodo.

The James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb Telescope should allow us to make incredible discoveries in various fields of astronomy. Image: NASA

What awaits the James Webb Telescope?

In the near future, research teams will also test the telescope’s ability to track objects in our solar system, such as planets, satellites, rings, asteroids and comets. That way, they will be able to make sure he is able to do it correctly as he is particularly sensitive to starlight.

We will also measure changes in the alignment of the telescope as we point it at different locations , ”Evans explained. It will thus swing between slightly warmer and cooler positions, to know how quickly its mirrors heat up and cool as it moves through space. So far, everything is going as planned, and the telescope can begin its official work in about two months.

The James-Webb Telescope was designed to operate for at least five years, but its ultra-precise launch means it could have enough fuel to stay in place for more than 20 years. There is no doubt that during this time period, it will disrupt humanity’s knowledge of the cosmos.

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