What can we expect from the first images of the James Webb Space Telescope

On Tuesday the 12th, NASA will present the first photographs from space captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), developed by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

The goal is to show the JWST’s ability to capture light from the first generation of stars and galaxies, map the details of stellar evolution, and study the chemical composition of explanet atmospheres. This telescope is the latest space telescope designed to explore and reach further than any of its predecessors as it is positioned in a gravitationally stable orbit approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

Launched last December, Webb was developed by scientists and engineers who aim to bring out the best in science, demonstrating to the world that “Webb is indeed science-ready, and produces excellent and spectacular results. “, says Klaus Pontoppidan, project scientist.

It is this Monday, at 10 p.m. in mainland Portugal, that the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, will unveil the first color image of the JWST, announcing the end of the verification tests and the start of the scientific operations of this space. observatory. .

Tuesday morning the 12th, it’s NASA’s turn to show photographs of a “tourist tour” through the Universe that no human being has ever seen.

Among the locations that have been photographed, NASA has unveiled a list of what we can expect. Among all the “targets” of the telescope, we can distinguish the Southern Ring Nebula, the Carina Nebula, SMACS 0723, Stephan’s Quintet and the exoplanet WASP-96b.

  • The Southern Ring Nebula is an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star. It is 2,000 light years from planet Earth.
  • The Carina Nebula is a large star-forming region in the constellation Carina, approximately 7600 light-years from Earth. It is one of the largest and brightest star nurseries in the sky.
  • Regarding the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, it is known to be a large mass that surpasses the largest star in our solar system.
  • Farther from Earth, 290 million light-years away, is Stephan’s Quintet, a group of five major galaxies in the constellation Pegasus.
  • Finally, the exoplanet WASP-96b is located 1150 light-years away and is made up of gas.

The James Webb Space Telescope is considered the best space observatory ever created, replacing Hubble. According to Pontoppidan, the observations range “from the early universe to the deepest infrared view of the cosmos to date.”

“We will see examples of the life cycle of stars, beginning with birth, where Webb can reveal new, young stars emerging from their natal cloud of gas and dust, through death, like a dying star seeding the galaxy with new elements and new dust that could one day be part of new planetary systems,” added the scientist.

Leave a Comment