First Images from James Webb Telescope: NASA Offers In-depth Explanation of the Best Images from the Edge of Time

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NASA has released and explained the first full-color images from James Webb Space Telescope.


The images from James Webb Telescope were published by NASA on July 12, 2022. The five images from the telescope show different events in the universe including a slowly dying star, clouds covering an exoplanet, a cluster of galaxies, and a group of newly born stars.


The images are the highest resolution photos of the deepest parts of the universe ever seen by man.  NASA on its official website captions all the images and make them available to the public for free download. The images were taken by James Webb Telescope, 1 million miles into the cosmos.


President Joe Biden, earlier on Monday, July 11, was the first to unveil the first-ever image from the deep space taken by Webb. NASA released the remaining four images on Tuesday, July 12, through a series of events.


In a statement broadcasted live across different television and media channels, president Biden said that the invention of the James Webb Space Telescope and the images it can capture "is a new window into the history of our universe".


"These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things. And remind the American people, especially our children, that there is nothing beyond our capacity. We can see possibilities no one has ever seen before. We go places no one has ever gone before." President Biden added.



Below are the images with explanations as published by NASA with captions:


NASA in collaboration with the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency remains the copyright owners of the images below:


1. Stephan's Quintet: A group of 5 galaxies, 4 of which interact with each other.

First Images from James Webb Telescope: NASA Offers In-depth Explanation of the Best Images from the Edge of Time  | Knowledge Trend

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI


The galaxy on the left is much closer to the earth than the rest of the group. "These colliding galaxies are pulling and stretching each other in a gravitational dance", NASA states.


This is Webb Telescope's largest image. It covers one-fifth of the moon's diameter when seen from the earth. The image is constructed from 1000 image files and contains over 150 million pixels, NASA added. 



2. Webb's First Deep Field: This is the infrared image of the universe. 

NASA has released and explained the first full-color images from James Webb Space Telescope.

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI


It is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the universe ever taken. The image shows the deepest parts of the universe, revealing distant stars and galaxies from the darkest space with a distance of billions of light-years away. The image is the first of its kind and takes us back close to where the Big Bang began.


This image is not the farthest back scientists have ever observed. Non-infrared missions like COBE and WMAP were already observed much closer to the Big Bang (about 380,000 years after) when there was only microwave background radiation, but no stars or galaxies yet. "Webb sees a few hundred million years after the Big Bang". 


This was the first image that was officially released by US president Joe Biden in Washington D.C. on July,11.


3. Carina Nebula: This image shows the birth of a new star.

NASA has released and explained the first full-color images from James Webb Space Telescope showing Carina Nebula: The birth of a new star.

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI


This is a “Cosmic Cliffs”, a curtain of dust and gas with baby stars that has not been seen before until scientists used the James Webb Telescope. This shows the early stage of the birth of a star which according to NASA, "this period only lasts about 50,000 to 100,000 years.


4. Southern Ring Nebula: An Image of a dying star cloaked by dust and layers of light.

First Images from James Webb Telescope | Southern Ring Nebula: An Image of a dying star cloaked by dust and layers of light.

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI


The Southern Ring planetary nebula shows a dying sun-like star expelling gas and dust, in orbit with a younger, but brighter star. This Webb image is the first image to show that "the dying star is cloaked in the dust". According to NASA, the dust and the delicate gaseous layers will dissipate into surrounding space in thousands of years.


The two images are the same, only that it shows a comparison between a lower quality image of the same object already taken by equipment like the Hubble Space Telescope and the higher resolution image by James Webb. 


The image on the left was taken with Webb's NIRCam instrument in the near-infrared, the right is the same nebula by Webb's MIRI instrument. This was called a planetary nebula because hundreds of years ago, scientists thought it was a planet. But Webb telescope shows it is a dying star.


5. WASP-96 b (Spectrum): A signature of water on giant gas planet WASP 96-b. 


WASP-96 b (Spectrum): A signature of water on giant gas planet WASP 96-b. | First Images from James Webb Telescope: NASA Offers In-depth Explanation of the Best Images.

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

The planet in the photo orbits a star that is 1150 light-years away from our planet. This is the first time mankind has detected evidence of clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres.


The images are the best and the first images of such high quality and resolution ever taken by any man-made equipment. Although the Hubble Space Telescope already took some of the images, James Webb has given us a much deeper view of the cosmos, and the awe of our universe. This is the beginning of a new window into the universe as more images shall be released soon.


To learn more about the images and future images from the James Webb Telescope, follow NASA's social media platforms or visit nasa.gov/webbfirstimages.
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