Described as the most powerful telescope in the world, NASA’s James Webb Telescope captured some stunning images of our universe this year, leaving space enthusiasts mesmerized. The next generation, $10 billion observatory, launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on December 25, 2021. Named after the former NASA administrator, Webb follows in the footsteps of the legendary Hubble but offers glimpses into the universe we couldn’t see. accessed before. Webb is about 100 times more powerful than Hubble.
On its first anniversary, here are 5 amazing images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2022 that revolutionized space imagery.
Deepest infrared image of the early universe
In the first image, taken in July 2022, Webb revealed the “deepest and sharpest infrared image of the early universe” ever, 13 billion years ago. The stunning shot, revealed at a White House briefing by President Joe Biden, showed thousands of galaxies overflowing and featured the faintest objects ever observed, colored from infrared to hues of blue, orange and white. The image shows galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, with many galaxies in front of and behind the cluster.
That same month, the telescope revealed young stellar nurseries and individual stars in the Carina Nebula that were previously obscured. Called Cosmic Cliffs, the 3D web image that looks like rocky mountains on a moonlit evening. In fact, it’s the edge of a giant gas cavity within NGC 3324, and the highest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years across.
In September 2022, the telescope captured the clearest view of Neptune’s rings in more than 30 years. In 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to take a picture of Neptune. According to NASA, not only did Webb capture the clearest picture of this distant planet’s rings since the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by in 1989, but his cameras also revealed the icy giant in a whole new light. Webb also captured seven of Neptune’s fourteen known moons.
The cartwheel galaxy
In August 2022, Webb’s powerful infrared look produced this detailed image of the Cartwheel and two smaller companion galaxies against a background of several other galaxies. The image provided a new perspective on the galaxy’s evolution over billions of years, according to a statement from NASA. The Cartwheel galaxy, located about 500 million light-years away in the constellation of the Sculptor, is a rare sight. Its appearance, much like that of a wagon wheel, is the result of an extreme event — a high-speed collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.
pillars of creation
In October 2022, the James Webb Telescope captured a lush and highly detailed landscape – the iconic Pillars of Creation. Flashes of thousands of stars illuminate the telescope’s first shot of giant pillars of gold, copper and brown standing at the center of the universe. The Pillars of Creation are located 6,500 light-years from Earth, in the Eagle Nebula of our Milky Way galaxy.
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