A dying star and a ‘cosmic dance’: Ancient galaxies revealed in never-before-seen telescope images | Scientific and technical news

A whole new detailed view of the universe that looks further into space and time than ever before has been revealed in a series of extraordinary photos.

Nasa has released a comprehensive set of images from its James Webb Space Telescope, showing what is said to be the “deepest” and most detailed image of the cosmos to date.

This new view of the universe is possible because the Webb is huge – with a mirror more than twice as large as the previously used Hubble.

It is the largest and most powerful telescope ever sent into space.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “Each image is a new discovery, and each will give humanity a view of the universe we’ve never seen before.”

The first image: clusters of distant galaxies

The image above shows a distant deep-field galaxy cluster as it appeared billions of years ago.

Jane Rigby, who worked on the project, says it shows them around the time the sun and Earth formed.

The image has a “sharpness and clarity” that we’ve never had before, she says, and under close-up it’s possible to see “individual clusters of stars forming, just popping out like pops.” -corn”.

Although if it looks a little familiar, that’s because it was first revealed by NASA in teaser form yesterday.

Sky’s editor for science and technology, Tom Clarke, says it’s a long exposure photo of a small part of the universe.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

“Jaws were on the ground” in NASA images

“If you hold your arm out with a grain of sand on your finger, that’s the size of the patch of sky covered by this image,” he says.

The second image: a giant planet

Exoplanet WASP-96b (NIRISS Transmission Spectrum) James Webb Telescope

This image is an analysis of the atmosphere of a giant planet called WASP-96b, and is the first “spectral analysis” of an exoplanet’s atmosphere.

Webb will be taking a number of “ghost” photos in the coming months.

This process involves spitting out light in its component “colors” in order to show what a body is made of, how fast it is moving, or even what its temperature is.

This analysis concerns a gas giant planet located nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth, which orbits its star every 3.4 days.

It has about half the mass of Jupiter and its discovery was announced in 2014.

NASA said: “Webb spotted the unambiguous signature of water, indications of mist, and evidence of clouds (formerly thought not to exist there)!”

The third image: a planetary nebula

South Ring Nebula (NIRCam image) James Webb Telescope

In this infrared image, a planetary nebula caused by a dying star can be seen.

It measures nearly half a light-year in diameter and is located about 2,000 light-years from Earth. A light year is 5.8 trillion miles.

The star can be seen expelling much of its mass.

The Southern Ring Nebula is sometimes also called the “Eight Shards”.

Today’s images are anything but the final frontier

Tom Clark

Scientific and technical writer

@aTomClarke

Given the extraordinary capabilities of the James Webb Telescope, we expected these images to be phenomenal, perhaps in the truest sense of the word. But wow, they really were.

Not only did we see stars exploding, the cosmos “dancing” and 13 billion year old galaxies, but we also got to see it all in vivid detail – better than ever.

The images themselves are an amazing breakthrough, but the infrared technology used in some of them is also extremely important for astronomers because it reveals completely new information about a process that we only partially understand.

In one image, the telescope was able to see water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet more than 1,000 light-years from Earth.

That the JWST can see water in the atmosphere of such a distant planet is incredible and shows that it can monitor the skies, looking for other “Earth-like” atmospheres: a major step for see how common planets like ours could be.

It was an amazing display of Webb’s power – and with the range predicted to be in service for around 20 years, there’s so much more to come.

The fourth image: Stephan’s Quintet

Stephan's Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, is best known for featuring prominently in the holiday classic,

This image depicts a group of five galaxies, two of which are merging.

It is a combination of mid-infrared and near-infrared images that reveals the birth of stars.

Although called a “quintet”, only four of the galaxies actually interact in a cosmic dance – the one on the left is actually in the foreground.

The fifth image: the cosmic cliffs of the Carina Nebula

What looks a lot like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening is actually the edge of a young star-forming region near NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.  Captured in infrared light by the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscured star birth zones.

This stunning image shows us – for the first time – hundreds of stars that were previously completely hidden from view.

The Carina Nebula is a nearby (in terms of space) star-forming region within our own Milky Way galaxy.

The “cosmic cliffs” were previously photographed by the Hubble Telescope, but this new view gives us a rare glimpse of stars in their early, rapid stages of formation.

Near-infrared shows hundreds of background stars and galaxies, while mid-infrared shows dusty discs forming planets (in red and pink) around young stars.

telescope mission

A partnership of scientists and engineers was formed between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency – and for 20 years they worked to complete the £8.4 billion telescope.

U.S. President Joe Biden is briefed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials while viewing the first images from the Webb Space Telescope, at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2022. REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque
Image:
US President Joe Biden previewed the footage yesterday

Read more: Analysis: Why are these images so important?
Deepest view of the universe ever captured: NASA releases first image from new space telescope

On Christmas Day 2021, the Webb was launched and it reached its destination in solar orbit nearly a million miles from Earth a month later.

Once there, the telescope underwent a months-long process to deploy all of its components, including a tennis-court-sized sunshade, and to align its mirrors and calibrate its instruments.

The universe has been expanding for 13.8 billion years, which means that light from early stars and galaxies has been “stretched” from the shorter visible wavelengths to the longer infrared.

It’s what allows Webb to see the universe in unprecedented new detail.

These images are the first of millions the new telescope will produce over its 20-year life.

Each high-resolution color image that was unveiled on Tuesday took weeks to render from the telescope’s raw data.

Watch-parties for the image’s release were held all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Comments are closed.