NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, from a celestial body nearly 1 million miles from Earth, is giving humanity the deepest insight yet into the most remote regions of the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope, from a celestial body nearly 1 million miles from Earth, is giving humanity the greatest insight ever into the most remote regions of the universe. US space agency NASA on Tuesday released images captured by this telescope, revealing new details such as a giant cloud of gas surrounding a dying star and a gaseous atmosphere. water of a gas giant planet 1,150 light-years from Earth.
Scientists expect a great deal of knowledge from telescopes, telescopes that scan infrared frequencies invisible to the human eye, but rich in information about the building blocks of the universe.
“I’m thrilled,” said Christopher Johns-Krull, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston who studies planets outside Earth’s solar system. “James Webb will reveal a lot and really go further.”
The telescope “will be particularly powerful for observing planets around other stars,” Johns-Krull said in an interview.
Johns-Krull said possibilities include finding a life-supporting planet and knowledge of how galaxies are formed.
During an event on Monday, President Joe Biden released an initial image showing thousands of galaxies.
“It’s a new window into the history of our universe,” Biden said at the White House. “That was amazing to me.”
James Webb – named after an early NASA administrator – launched on December 25, after more than two decades of development, at a cost of nearly $11 billion.
According to NASA, it is the largest, most powerful and most complex space telescope ever built. Webb is an international program run by NASA in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
The telescope is farther from the sun than Earth, and its instruments are protected from the sun’s glare by a shield the size of a tennis court that opens after launch. That isolation helps the telescope avoid radiation that could affect its data collection.
“You can see the faintest things, which means they are the furthest. That means you’re looking beyond time,” said Johns-Krull, a Rice astronomer.
On Monday, NASA said it had thoroughly tested the telescope’s scientific instruments.
“Webb has completed operational operations and is ready to commence full scientific operations,” the agency said in a press release.
NASA hopes Webb will collect images from galaxies that existed as early as the first few hundred million years after the big bang, which occurred about 13.8 billion years ago.
With Webb’s observations, researchers can tell us for the first time about the make and composition of individual galaxies in the early universe, NASA said in a June 22 news release.
“It might answer some of the questions we have,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at a press conference June 29. “Where do we come from? What else is out there? We who am I?”
Oleg Kargaltsev, an associate professor of physics at George Washington University in Washington, DC, is part of a team that plans to use the telescope to investigate emission from a neutron star, probe its formation and evolution. of super-dense objects.
“I’m delighted to see what’s in the images and can’t wait to check the actual data with my own hands,” Kargaltsev said in an email.