What do the first images from the James-Webb Space Telescope tell us?

What do the first images from the James-Webb Space Telescope tell us?

Six months after launch, now in orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, the James-Webb telescope is working perfectly. Source, he started sending us pictures of the universe with an unprecedented level of detail. Three of them are attributed to three astrophysicists.

1Constellation SMAC 0723

It was James-Webb’s first published film. It was unveiled by US President Joe Biden on July 12, 2022, just as it was at the height of the Apollo program in the 1960s. And it’s already one of the most popular films in our universe.

This picture “A deep field“, explains Nicole Nesvatba, astrophysicist and research director of the CNRS. “On points the telescope at a region of the sky where there are no particularly bright objects to detect which are fainter in that region of the sky.“. As a result, thousands of galaxies appear in this photo, some of which are so distant that they appear as a small red dot in the background.

These rarely seen elements are of particular interest to scientists. These are the oldest galaxies in the universe, having formed 13.3 billion years ago. “In astronomy, the farther you look into the universe, the farther you see“, recalls Nicole Neswatba. James Webb, thanks to these abilities to see in the infrared, a light invisible to our eyes, makes it possible to go further back than other telescopes before him.

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2Carina Nebula

The James-Webb telescope is a great time machine. It is an instrument for analyzing the chemical composition of substances. Especially to understand the formation of stars like our Sun.

Here we are in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, about 7,500 light years away of the earth. And this is a nebula, also known as a stellar nursery. “In the upper zone, with this blue background, we’re in a region where the gas is very hot.”Olivier Bernay, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Astrophysical and Planetary Research in Toulouse, explains. James-Webb Space Telescope’s science program manager. He follows: “Looking down, we see these orange nebulosities. These are called interstellar clouds. They are composed of gas and dust. Within these clouds, where it is cool enough and the gravity is strong enough, clouds of gas and dust can collapse and form new stars. You can also see the formation of stars in some places.“.

Remember that a nebula can be seen in our sky with the naked eye. It is the Orion Nebula, located 1,500 light-years from Earth.

3Jupiter and its moon Europa

James Webb’s infrared vision begins to scan objects in our solar system. The first image of Jupiter was released on July 14.

In this image we see Jupiter and one of its four moons, Europa“, explained Tristan Gillet, an astrophysicist at the Côte d’Azur Observatory and an expert on the formation of gas giants.”Thanks James Webb observes Jupiter with high resolution in the infrared, so we observe the heat the planet emits, which gives us a lot of information about its composition. We can also read this big red dot on the right. It’s a protest that’s been going on for 300 years, and we don’t know much about it.” Tristan Gillett is delighted.

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