Here’s an absolutely stunning new view from the James Webb Space Telescope of a dusty spiral galaxy, NGC 1566. Amateur (but expert!) image editor Judy Schmidt took the raw data from JWST’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and teased out this eerie, spider-web-like view of this distant galaxy. The swirling and symmetrical arms are so full of dust that not many stars are visible.Continue reading “Gaze Slack-jawed at the Haunting Beauty of Galaxy NGC 1566, Captured by JWST, Processed by Judy Schmidt”
Back in August, an early release image from the James Webb Space Telescope revealed a bizarre sight: as many as 17 concentric rings encircling a binary star system, called Wolf-Rayet 140. Was it a spiral nebula, an alien megastructure or just an optical illusion?
The answer, revealed today, is dust. A new paper published in Nature Astronomy explains how stellar winds in this odd binary system blasts dust into near-perfect concentric circles every time the two stars come close to each other in their eccentric orbits.Continue reading “These Bizarre Concentric Rings in Space are Real, Not an Optical Illusion. New Data from JWST Explains What’s Happening”
The JWST is grabbing headlines and eyeballs as its mission gains momentum. The telescope recently imaged M74 (NGC 628) with its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI.) Judy Schmidt, a well-known amateur astronomy image processor, has worked on the image to bring out more detail.Continue reading “Here’s M74 Like You’ve Never Seen it Before, Thanks to Judy Schmidt and JWST”
If you like planetary nebulas, you’re in luck. Multimedia artist Judy Schmidt has put together an amazing collection of 100 of these colorful glowing shells of gas and plasma, all at apparent size relative to one another. There’s even a giant-sized 10,000 pixel-wide version available on Flickr.
How many of these planetary nebulae can you identify?
Judy explained her inspiration for putting together this wonderful ‘poster’:
Inspired by insect illustration posters, this is a large collage of planetary nebulas I put together bit by bit as I processed them. All are presented north up and at apparent size relative to one another–I did not rotate or resize them in order to satisfy compositional aesthetics (if you spot any errors, let me know). Colors are aesthetic choices, especially since most planetary nebulas are imaged with narrowband filters.
Planetary nebulae are formed by certain types of stars at the end of their lives, and actually have nothing to do with planets. They were given the confusing name 300 years ago by William Herschel because in early, rudimentary telescopes, the puffed out balls of gas looked like planets.
Our own Sun will likely undergo a similar process, but not for another 5 billion years or so.