4 more Webb images! Wow!

4 more Webb images! Wow!

NASA – with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – released the first images from the mighty James Webb Space Telescope during a televised broadcast yesterday, July 12, 2022. Events then extended into today (July 13), with the release of four more Webb images.

Here they are!

1. Southern Ring Nebula

The Southern Ring, or “Eight-Burst” nebula, is a planetary nebula, that is, an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star. It is nearly half a light-year in diameter and is located approximately 2,000 light years away from Earth.

First Webb images: Orange and blue clouds around 2 bright stars, 1 white and 1 orange, with dark sky background.
A planetary nebula seen, by Webb’s MIRI, against the blackness of space, with points of starlight behind it. Plumes of glowing bright blue gas radiate out from the oval-shaped nebula. 2 separate ovals of reddish pink gas appear stacked on top of each other, inside the lacy blue gas clouds. In the center of the nebula, 2 stars glow close to each other. 1 star looks more red, while the other appears more yellow. Image via NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

2. Stephan’s Quintet

About 290 million light-years away, Stephan’s Quintet is located in the constellation Pegasus. It is notable for being the first compact galaxy group ever discovered in 1877. Four of the five galaxies within the quintet are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters.

First Webb images: Starry background with 5 galaxies in the center.
A group of 5 galaxies that appear close to each other in the sky: 2 in the middle, 1 toward the top, 1 to the upper left, and 1 toward the bottom. 4 of the 5 appear to be touching. 1 is somewhat separated. In the image, the galaxies are large relative to the hundreds of much smaller (more distant) galaxies in the background. All 5 galaxies have bright white cores. Each has a slightly different size, shape, structure, and coloring. Scattered across the image, in front of the galaxies are number of foreground stars with diffraction spikes: bright white points, each with 8 bright lines radiating out from the center. Image via NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

3. Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky, located approximately 7,600 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Nebulae are stellar nurseries where stars form. The Carina Nebula is home to many massive stars, several times larger than our sun.

First Webb images: Starry background with orange clouds of bright and dark nebula in foreground.
This Webb image of the Carina Nebula is divided horizontally by an undulating line between a cloudscape forming a nebula along the bottom portion and a comparatively clear upper portion. Speckled across both portions is a starfield, showing innumerable stars of many sizes. The smallest of these are small, distant, and faint points of light. The largest of these appear larger, closer, brighter, and more fully resolved with 8-point diffraction spikes. The upper portion of the image is blueish, and has wispy translucent cloud-like streaks rising from the nebula below. The orangish cloudy formation in the bottom half varies in density and ranges from translucent to opaque. The stars vary in color, the majority of which have a blue or orange hue. The cloud-like structure of the nebula contains ridges, peaks, and valleys, an appearance very similar to a mountain range. 3 long diffraction spikes from the top right edge of the image suggest the presence of a large star just out of view. Image via NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

4. WASP-96 b (spectrum)

WASP-96 b is a giant planet outside our solar system, composed mainly of gas. The planet, located nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth, orbits its star every 3.4 days. It has about half the mass of Jupiter, and its discovery was announced in 2014.

First Webb images: Chart with lines and many peaks at the beginning, and a brown exoplanet and its star as the background.
Graphic titled “Hot Gas Giant Exoplanet WASP-96 b Atmosphere Composition, NIRISS Single-Object Slitless Spectroscopy.” The graphic shows the transmission spectrum of the hot gas giant exoplanet WASP-96 b captured using Webb’s NIRISS Single-Object Slitless Spectroscopy with an illustration of the planet and its star in the background. The data points are plotted on a graph of amount of light blocked in parts per million versus wavelength of light in microns. A curvy blue line represents a best-fit model. 4 prominent peaks visible in the data and model are labeled “water, H2O.”
Image via NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

SMACS 0723: 1st Webb image released Monday

NASA and its partners released the very first Webb image in late afternoon on Monday, at a special presentation at the White House. The image shows a galaxy cluster called SMACS 0723 (fuzzy object, center of photo), 4.6 billion light-years away. The massive cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it and so bringing them into view. Thousands of galaxies appear in Webb’s first image, which is being called Webb’s 1st Deep Field.

Read about Monday’s image release

First Webb images: Hundreds of small-to-tiny oblong glowing objects (galaxies) in a dark sky.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured a tiny slice of the vast universe for its 1st image. What you’re seeing is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. This 1st Webb image needed just 12.5 hours of data-gathering. And it goes deeper than the Hubble deep fields, which took weeks! Image via Webb.

Stay connected

NASA invites you to stay connected with the mission and share your experience with Webb’s first images on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #UnfoldTheUniverse. You can follow and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @NASAWebb
Facebook: NASA, NASAWebb
Instagram: NASA, @NASAWebb

Here is a list of release activities (all times Eastern):

Tuesday, July 12, activities: Starting at 10:30 EDT

Formal Image Release – Live coverage of the image release broadcast aired on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. The public also can watch live on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Daily Motion.

NASA Social: NASA hosted an in-person NASA Social on Tuesday, July 12. Participants joined as guests for the in-studio filming of the televised broadcast at NASA Goddard, tour NASA Goddard and STScI facilities, and interacted with experts from the Webb mission.

Wednesday, July 13, activities: Starting at 3 p.m. EDT

NASA Science Live: Webb experts will answer questions about the first images and data in a NASA Science Live show. The broadcast, Webb’s First Full-Color Images Explained, will air live on the NASA Science Live website, as well as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Viewers of this episode can submit questions on social media using the hashtag #UnfoldtheUniverse or by leaving a comment in the chat section of the Facebook or YouTube stream.

At the same time, NASA also will broadcast a live social media event in Spanish on its NASA en español YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Webb experts Begoña Vila and Néstor Espinoza will discuss the release of the first images and take questions from followers.

NASA Social: The agency will host a second in-person NASA Social today, Wednesday, July 13. Participants will join as guests for the in-studio filming of the televised broadcast at NASA Goddard, tour NASA Goddard and STScI facilities, and interact with experts from the Webb mission.

Activities throughout the summer

Webb Community Events: The public can also join in the excitement of Webb’s first full-color images by attending one of the many official Webb Space Telescope Community Events taking place across the country this summer. The list of events celebrating Webb’s first images is available online and updated frequently.

First Webb images: Golden hexagons making up a big hexagon over a large, rectangular, silvery sunshade.
Artist’s concept of the James Webb Space Telescope, successor to Hubble. NASA calls it “a wonder of engineering.” It’s able to gaze farther into space – and so farther back in time – than any telescope before it. That’s because its primary mirror is huge. It’s made of 18 hexagonal segments, altogether measuring more than 21 feet, or 6.5 meters, across. What’s more, Webb’s instruments focus on the infrared part of the spectrum, letting it peer through dust and gas. Image via NASA.

Webb launched in late 2021

The Webb is a marvelous machine. And the dream to build it began as early as 1996, when an 18-member committee of astronomers formally recommended that NASA develop a space telescope that would view the heavens in infrared light. Launch was initially planned for 2007. The price tag was initially US $500 million. Then the delays began.

Webb finally launched to space on December 25, 2021, from the Guiana Space Center (sometimes called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou in French Guiana.

Following launch, the telescope began a month-long journey to the sun-Earth Lagrange point known as L2. This point in the sun-Earth system lets the spacecraft “hover” with respect to Earth as both Earth and the spacecraft orbit the sun. The point is about four times the moon’s distance away (about 1 million miles away from the Earth, or about 1.6 million km). On January 24, 2022, a mid-course correction burn inserted Webb into its final orbit at L2.

The Webb ground crew has spent the intervening months in a shake-down phase for the telescope, making sure its mirrors are fully aligned and its instruments are working correctly. Webb did release some test images in May 2022.

Webb will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within the solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe – and everything in between.

First Webb images: Coverings coming off the nose of a launched rocket revealing folded Webb.
Artist’s concept of Webb’s December 25, 2021, launch from Kourou in French Guiana, via an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket. Image via ESA.

Bottom line: NASA released the much-anticipated first Webb images in July 12, 2022. Images and videos here.



NASA Shares List of Cosmic Targets for Webb Telescope’s First Images

July 12, 2022

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