The famous American baseball player once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” That’s certainly true of the JWST, which just released its latest “spider-web” image of a distant galaxy. It “watched” IC 5332 using the onboard Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI). In the process it observed spectacular details not easily seen in visible light.Continue reading “Another Ghostly Spiral Galaxy Revealed by JWST”
In its first few months of operation, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is already proving that it was well worth the wait! To date, it has provided astronomers with the most detailed and precise images of the cosmos, conducted observations of iconic galaxies and nebulae, peered to the very edge of the Universe, and obtained spectra from distant exoplanets. These resulting images, made public through the JWST Early Release Science (ERS) program, have provided a good cross-section of what this next-generation observatory can do.
Among its many objectives, the JWST will provide valuable insights into the formation and evolution of exoplanet systems through direct imaging. Using data from the ERS, an international team of astronomers and astrophysicists conducted a direct imaging study of a brown dwarf companion (VHS 1256-1257 b) orbiting within a triple brown dwarf system approximately 69.0 light-years away. The spectra they obtained from this body provided a detailed composition of its atmosphere, which included an unexpected find – clouds made of silicate minerals (aka. sand)!Continue reading “Webb Scans a Nearby Brown Dwarf and Finds it has Clouds Made of Sand”
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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the most complex and sophisticated observatory ever deployed. Using its advanced suite of infrared instruments, coronographs, and spectrometers – contributed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – this observatory will spend the next ten to twenty years building on the achievements of its predecessor, the venerable Hubble. This includes exoplanet characterization, star and planet formation, and the formation and evolution of the earliest galaxies in the Universe.
However, one of the main objectives of the JWST is to study the planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies here in the Solar System. This includes Mars, the first Solar planet to get the James Webb treatment! The images Webb took (recently released by the ESA) provide a unique perspective on Mars, showing what the planet looks like in infrared wavelengths. The data yielded by these images could provide new insight into Mars’ atmosphere and environment, complimenting decades of observations by orbiters, landers, rovers, and other telescopes.Continue reading “Webb Turns its Infrared Gaze on Mars”
James Webb is currently experiencing problems with its MIRI instrument. The problem is due to increased friction in one of MIRI’s mechanisms in the Medium-Resolution Spectroscopy (MRS) mode. The observatory is otherwise healthy, but the team decided to stop observations using MRS mode until they find a solution.Continue reading “Uh oh, There’s a Problem With one of Webb’s Science Instruments”
Here’s the Tarantula Nebula like we’ve never seen it before. The James Webb Space Telescope turned its detectors towards the Large Magellanic Cloud about 161,000 lightyears away to take a look at 30 Doradus, more commonly known as the Tarantula Nebula. JWST’s exceptional infrared view has now revealed thousands of never-before-seen young stars in this stellar nursery, as well incredible views of the wispy, dusty filaments and the impressive collection of massive older stars.
There is so much detail in this image, if you download the full-sized version, you can pan and zoom around to see details on stars and the surrounding dust and gas. And there are even other, more distant galaxies dotting the background. If you have a big screen, even better, as it takes up over 14,000 x 8,000 pixels. Or, take a look at the video tour, below.Continue reading “Wow! Here's Webb's View of the Tarantula Nebula”
The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first direct image of an exoplanet, a planet outside our Solar System. The exoplanet, HIP 65425 b is a gas giant that orbits an A-type star, has a mass of about nine times that of Jupiter and is about 355 light-years from Earth. While the planet has virtually no chance of being habitable, the data from these observations show just how powerful a tool JWST will be for studying exoplanets.Continue reading “JWST Takes Its First Image of an Exoplanet”
An early – and exciting — science result from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was announced today: the first unambiguous detection of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. This is the first detailed evidence for carbon dioxide ever detected in a planet outside our Solar System.Continue reading “JWST Finds a Clear, Unambiguous Signal for Carbon Dioxide in an Exoplanet’s Atmosphere”
Astrophotographer Judy Schmidt (aka. Geckzilla, SpaceGeck) is at it again! Earlier this month, she released a processed image of the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy (NGC 1365). The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently observed this iconic double-barred spiral galaxy, which resulted in the most-detailed look at this galaxy to date. This time, Schmidt shared a series of images via Twitter that provide a closer look at NGC 1365’s core region, a widefield view that shows the galaxy’s long arms, and lovely animation that shows the galaxy in near- and mid-infrared wavelengths.Continue reading “Gaze Into the Heart of NGC 1365, Captured by Webb”
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is designed to probe the farthest frontiers of the universe, but newly released images of Jupiter prove that the observatory can also bring fresh perspectives to more familiar celestial sights.
The infrared images reveal Jupiter’s polar auroras and its faint rings as well as two of its moons — plus some galaxies in the far background. The planet’s Great Red Spot is there as well, but because it’s seen through three of JWST’s specialized filters, it looks white rather than red.
JWST’s new perspective should give scientists a better sense of how the complex Jupiter system is put together.Continue reading “Webb Telescope Sees Jupiter and Its Auroras in a New Light”
The James Webb Space Telescope continues to deliver surprise after surprise. Next up, a team of astronomers have identified likely candidates for proto-globular clusters. Clusters like these can help astronomers understand the evolution and ultimate fate of galaxies like our own.Continue reading “Has JWST Found Proto-Globular Clusters?”