The first full-colour images from the newly commissioned
James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were released on 12 July 2022, providing the deepest ever infrared views of distant galaxies, stunning portraits of the Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet of galaxies and the Carina Nebula, as well as spectographic observations of the exoplanet WASP-96 b, revealing the presence of water.
The first JWST image of distant galaxies in the SMACS 0723 cluster located in the constellation of Volans. The image covers an area of the sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. The image shows the cluster as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago with many of the galaxies appearing distorted due to gravitational lensing (see General Relativity). (click image to enlarge) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
JWST Image of the Southern Ring planetary nebula around 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Vela. The image reveals two central stars close together. The dimmer of these two stars is a white dwarf (see Types of Stars) that has blown off its outer layers to form the nebula. (Click image to enlarge). Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and the Webb ERO Production Team
Stephan’s Quintet of Galaxies in the Constellation Pegasus. This new infrared image from the JWST shows details that are shrouded by dust in visible light including large shock waves and tidal tails in four of the five galaxies, as well as previously hidden areas of star formation. The galaxy at the top of the image – NGC 7319 – contains a supermassive black hole 24 million times the mass of the Sun at its centre. (Click image to enlarge). Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and the Webb ERO Production Team
JWST NIRCam Image of the “Cosmic Cliffs” of the Carina Nebula in the constellation Carina revealing stellar nurseries and individual stars that are completely obscured by dust in visible-light pictures. (Click image to enlarge). mage Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
Transmission spectrum made from the JWST’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) revealing the presence of water in the atmosphere of the hot gas giant exoplanet WASP-96 b, orbiting a sun-like star roughly 1,150 light-years away in the constellation Phoenix. (Click image to enlarge). Credit:
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and the Webb ERO Production Team
To read more about the JWST, see
The James Webb Space Telescope.
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