Described as the most powerful telescope in the world, NASA’s James Web Telescope captured stunning images of our universe this year, leaving space lovers spellbound. The next-generation observatory, priced at $10 billion, was launched atop the Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on December 25, 2021. Named after a former NASA director, Webb follows in the footsteps of the legendary Hubble but offers insights into the universe that were previously inaccessible to us. Webb is about 100 times more powerful than Hubble.
On its first anniversary, here are 5 incredible images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2022 that have revolutionized space imaging.
Deepest infrared image of the early universe
In his first photo taken in July 2022, Webb revealed the “deepest, sharpest infrared image of the early universe” ever taken, dating back 13 billion years. The stunning shot, which was revealed during a White House briefing by President Joe Biden, showed thousands of outburst galaxies and featured the faintest objects ever seen, colorized from infrared to blue, orange and White. The image shows galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, with many more galaxies in front and behind the cluster.
The same month, the telescope revealed emerging stellar nurseries and individual stars in the Carina Nebula that were previously obscured. Called Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional image resembles rugged mountains on a full moon night. It’s actually the edge of the giant gas cavity in NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high.
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 capture the image of Neptune. According to NASA, Webb not only captured the clearest view of this distant planet’s rings since the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past it in 1989, but his cameras also revealed the icy giant in a whole new light. day. The Webb also captured seven of Neptune’s 14 known moons.
The Cartwheel Galaxy
In August 2022, Webb’s powerful infrared gaze produced this detailed image of the cartwheel and two smaller companion galaxies against the backdrop of many other galaxies. The image offered a new perspective on how the galaxy evolved over billions of years, according to a NASA statement. The Cartwheel galaxy, located about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, is a rare sight. Its appearance, much like that of a wagon wheel, is the result of an intense event – a high-speed collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.
The pillars of creation
In October 2022, a lush, highly detailed landscape – the iconic “Pillars of Creation” were captured by the James Webb Telescope. The twinkling of thousands of stars illuminates the first telescope shot of the gigantic columns of gold, copper and brown standing in the The “Pillars of Creation” are located 6,500 light years from Earth, in the Eagle Nebula in our Milky Way.
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