NASA’s James Webb Telescope Releases First Mind-Blowing Images of Deep Space
Hey, I see Thor!
Things are pretty terrible here on Earth, but at least they’re beautiful up in the stars. How do we know? Because NASA has begun releasing images from the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and they are absolutely incredible.
The JWST was launched into space on December 25, 2021, and has spent the past several months aligning its mirrors and calibrating its scientific instruments in order to capture its first images of stars, nebulae, and distant galaxies. It uses four instruments to take photos of deep space, including the Near-Infrared Camera, the Near-Infrared Spectrogram, the Mid-Infrared Instrument, and the Fine Guidance Sensor/Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the images include “the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken.”
That first image was released last night at a White House event, but today, NASA live streamed the rest of its first batch of jaw-dropping photos.
The JWST will replace the already formidable Hubble Telescope as NASA’s flagship space observatory, since it’s capable of viewing objects that are older, farther away, or fainter than what Hubble can pick up. It uses 18 gold-plated beryllium mirror segments to create a light-gathering mirror about 21 feet in diameter, almost 3 times bigger than Hubble’s.
Not only does the JWST take beautiful space portraits, but it also helps astronomers do cool science like finding new planets! It does this by tracking the dimming of a star’s light when a planet crosses in front of it.
The people of Earth took to Twitter to show that they’re suitably impressed with JWST’s debut:
Check out The JWST’s Twitter feed for more updates and photos!
(featured image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)
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