Here are the breathtaking images of space taken by the James Webb Telescope

Nasa on Tuesday unveiled all the first images of the most powerful space telescope ever designed, James Webb, breathtaking images of galaxies and nebulae marking the start of scientific operations that astronomers around the world have been waiting for for years.

“Every picture is a new discovery”, NASA chief Bill Nelson said at the opening of the Goddard Space Center near Washington, where a crowd of American and European space agents and scientists were gathered for the event. Each offers “for humanity a view of the universe that we have never seen before.”

The contents of this real surprise bag had so far been kept carefully secret to create excitement.

The Carina trains

The Carina Nebula, located about 7,600 light-years away, illustrates star formation. The snapshot shows hundreds of those never seen before, but also galaxies in the background and structures that we do not even know what is yet.

Details about the Carina trains

A dying star

Perhaps the most impressive for their details and their magnificent contrasts of blue and orange: the images of two mists, giant clouds of gas and dust.

The southern nebula is a so-called planetary nebula (although it has nothing to do with planets): it is a huge gas cloud that surrounds a dying star.

The bright star at the center of NGC 3132, while visible to the James Webb Space Telescope in the near-infrared region, plays a supporting role in the sculpture of the surrounding nebula.  Another star, just visible at the bottom left along one of the diffraction peaks of the bright star, is the source of the nebula.
The bright star at the center of NGC 3132, while visible to the James Webb Space Telescope in the near-infrared region, plays a supporting role in the sculpture of the surrounding nebula. Another star, just visible at the bottom left along one of the diffraction peaks of the bright star, is the source of the nebula.

The Southern Ring Mist, taken with the James Webb Telescope
The Southern Ring Mist, taken with the James Webb Telescope

– Stephans Quintet

Another target revealed: Stephan’s quintet, a cluster of galaxies. Five are visible in total in this spectacular image, four of which interact with each other in a veritable gravitational dance. Two merge.

Stephan's quintet, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, is a visual grouping of five galaxies
Stephan’s quintet, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, is a visual grouping of five galaxies

galaxies

The last cosmic object, whose observation was announced on Tuesday, is an exoplanet, that is, a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, one of James Webb’s main lines.

It was not actually photographed, but analyzed by spectroscopy, a technique used to determine the chemical composition of a distant object. In this case WASP-96 b, a giant planet consisting mainly of gas.

Analysis of light passing through its atmosphere as it passes in front of its star has found the presence of water there, NASA said. James Webb’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, has previously discovered water in the atmosphere of exoplanets, but James Webb’s observation is much more detailed.

On Monday, a first image taken by the telescope illustrating the distant times of the cosmos was unveiled in the presence of US President Joe Biden, who greeted for a moment “historic”.

The shot, which abounds in detail, shows galaxies formed shortly after the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.

The first image from the James Webb Space Telescope unveiled on July 11, 2022 by NASA shows a galaxy cluster
The first image from the James Webb Space Telescope unveiled on July 11, 2022 by NASA shows a galaxy cluster

One of James Webb’s masterpieces, a $ 10 billion engineering jewel and the most powerful space telescope ever designed, is actually the exploration of the very young universe. This first demonstration was intended to provide an overview of its capabilities in this area.

James Webb had been sent into space about six months ago, Christmas Day, from French Guiana by an Ariane 5 rocket. In project since the 1990s, it is stationed 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

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