breathtaking images of the universe unveiled by NASA


JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE. This Tuesday, July 12, 2022, NASA posted on Twitter all the first images of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope.

[Mis à jour le 12 juillet à 18h38] This Tuesday, July 12, a series of images transmitted by the James Webb Space Telescope were publicly released by NASA. These four amazing new images show a dying star in a nebula, the atmosphere of an exoplanet, a cluster of five galaxies and the Carina nebula. On Monday, the presentation of a first image from the depths of the universe was unveiled by US President Joe Biden.

The four images posted on the NASA Webb Telescope Twitter account are impressive for their details and the contrasts of blue and orange. First, the Carina Nebula, shown below, is a planetary nebula in the southern ring about 7,600 light-years away. In this huge gas cloud lies a dying star in the center, captured by two instruments from the James Webb telescope. This image of the Carina Nebula illustrates star formation and shows hundreds of unprecedented galaxies in the background and other structures not yet known.

Launched on December 25, 2021, after 30 years of study and design, the James Webb Space Telescope reached its destination a month later, on January 24: “Lagrange point L2” a very stable solar system area. The precision of its launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket was so successful that NASA decided to extend the duration of the mission by 5 years, as the telescope had just begun its transit towards its final position. 6 months later, the deployment of the various instruments that make up the telescope went smoothly, allowing NASA to officially launch the space exploration mission for this jewel of technology, which is the subject of great expectations from the scientific community.

In addition to NASA, mission partner agencies – the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – participated in the design of various instruments on board the James Webb Telescope, and the European Agency was also responsible for launching the telescope on board a Ariane 5 rocket.

After several months of testing and calibrating the instruments in the James Webb Telescope, the long-awaited snapshot was unveiled to the world on Monday, July 11 at 11pm by the US President. The image is spectacular and shows galaxies formed shortly after the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.

This is the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, as it was 4.6 billion years ago. “The total mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens that magnifies galaxies much farther behind, whose light took 13 billion years to reach us,” reports Science et Avenir. The James Webb Telescope will therefore allow scientists to study structures never seen before.

These structures are invisible to us, but not to the most powerful space telescope in the world capable of perceiving wavelengths to which our eyes are insensitive. NASA said it is “the deepest and clearest infrared image of the universe ever taken”. This photograph marks the beginning of a long research work for astronomers to discover the origin of the universe and the formation of galaxies.

Prior to the publication of the image, NASA had all the same given clues about its nature, specifying that it was one of the targets of the James Webb Space Telescope. These are the Carina Nebula, known to be the brightest known, the Austral Ring, which is about 2,000 light-years from Earth or an exoplanet called Wasp-96b, a gas giant planet discovered in 2014. The other two targets of the telescope are group of galaxies “The Quintet of Stephan” located in the constellation Pegasus and the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, which offers spectacular views of galaxies extremely far from Earth by a light distortion effect.

On July 6, 2022, NASA had already published a first image taken by the James Webb Telescope. It is not a final photo, but more a technical document that allows researchers to test the various instruments with which it is equipped. This shot is actually a collection of 72 images that give a foretaste of the technical possibilities of the telescope. You can see a certain number of stars there, recognizable on their 6 branches, which is an optical effect due to the hexagonal mirrors of the telescope. There are also an extraordinary number of galaxies. This technical picture is spectacular and constitutes the most accurate picture we have of the depths of the universe.

The universe corresponds to everything that exists. It is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old. According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was formed from a hot, dense point that suddenly expanded, creating matter, energy, space, and time. The Big Bang theory suggests that this expansion would still be at work today.

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