Magnificent images from the James Webb Space Telescope show “the curtain is being lifted on the new ear of our cosmic history.” NASA.
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy administrator of the space agency’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a blog post Tuesday that he feels “grateful and humble” for playing his part in this historic moment.
“There are few cases in history where we as humans look at nature in a completely new way, and Webb has already begun to force us to do this with these new images.
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“There have been a few times in history where we humans are looking at nature in a whole new way, and Webb has already started pushing us to do that with these new images,” says NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen. The galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, is pictured above.
“How amazing that we are alive right now and ready to take a fresh look at the very basis of our existence!”
Zurbuchen went on to note a few features of each image that he appreciates and what they mean to him.
“For example, the deep field in just 6 hours of integration immediately discovered galaxies older than 3 billion years – for sure the record for the “oldest galaxy” is about to fall.
“What excites me the most is that we also have the composite spectra of these galaxies.
“Creators of star formation and star formation models will face previously unreachable limits.
“But I always try to look at paintings in two ways – as a scientist, and also as a child observing nature or art,” writes Zurbuchen. Two cameras aboard Webb took the final image of this planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 3132 and informally known as the South Rim Nebula, about 2,500 light-years away.
“But I always try to look at paintings in two ways – as a scientist, but also as a child observing nature or art,” Zurbuchen. writes.
A NASA administrator calls the South Rim Nebula and the Carina Nebula “amazing.”
“Yes, this is the story of star formation and the end of the stars, but it is just incredibly beautiful and amazing even without a scientific explanation. Nature is beautiful, much more beautiful than we ever thought.”
The “space rocks” of the Carina Nebula are visible above in the image, divided horizontally by a wavy line between the cloudy landscape forming the nebula along the bottom and the relatively clear top.
“Finally, I liked the spectrum of an exoplanet — a Jupiter scale planet closer to its star than Mercury — and water signatures appear immediately with surprisingly narrow error bars.
“I can only imagine the tables we’ll be looking across the spectrum and how we’re going to learn about the atmospheric composition of words that may or may not carry life.”
Zurbuchen also mentioned the incredible reaction and huge worldwide interest in the first images of James Webb, as evidenced by the intense media coverage and wide interest on social media.
A group of five galaxies that appear close to each other in the sky: two in the middle, one at the top, one at the top left, and one at the bottom are visible in the mosaic or fusion of near and mid-infrared data. from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
The Webb Telescope was mentioned more than 1.4 million times on social media in four days, and the topic became the most popular Google search in the US.
The first images of JWST graced the front pages of 83 domestic and 45 international newspapers, and nearly 10,000 articles were written about these images in traditional media, which were covered by more than 1,500 TV channels.
“As I write this post, I look at the gold and platinum rings on my hands and remember that these elements were probably created from merged neutron stars,” he says.
“The remnants of stellar evolution are on my arm.
“Stellar processes and explosions of various kinds created the very elements of which we humans are made – we are made of stardust.
“We’re just starting to write the next chapter in our space history books and I’m excited to see the story Webb is helping us tell.
“The fact that we can look into the universe and use what we learn to change the way we think about ourselves is one of the most important advances science can make.
“It gives me hope to see the strength of people as they achieve more in the face of adversity and create the impossible together.
“Thank you for joining us on this journey to discover the universe.”
James Webb’s commissioning report states that the photos of Jupiter above showed that the JWST “can track moving targets even when there is ambient light from the bright planet Jupiter.” They also show his ability to capture details such as rings and moons around bright planets.
JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE
The James Webb Telescope has been called a “time machine” that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to look back at the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even our solar system’s moons and planets.
Already worth over $7 billion (£5 billion), the huge telescope is said to be the successor to the Hubble Orbiting Space Telescope.
The James Webb telescope and most of his instruments have an operating temperature of approximately 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
This is the world’s largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope, capable of looking 100-200 million years ago after the Big Bang.
The Orbital Infrared Observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA prefers to think of James Webb as Hubble’s successor rather than his replacement, as the two will work in tandem for a while.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It orbits the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 km per hour) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 340 miles.