james webb telescope

James Webb Pictures Explained

By Jake Riley, SR Senior Editor

Latest James Webb Telescope Pictures Explained: What's Going On In The Universe?

The James Webb telescope is a beast. Astronomers are using the final testing phase of this observatory as an opportunity to take more mind-blowing photos of some of the most beautiful objects and constellations in space we've seen so far. The latest images give us a taste of what we can expect from JWST when it comes online next year. There is so much going on in these images that it's almost overwhelming. Luckily, we have you covered.

In this blog, you will get an explanation of all these jaw-dropping pictures and learn what you should know about what's going on in the universe.

Here’s the video from NASA showing the latest pictures

Let dig into what we are actually seeing.

Southern Ring Nebula

The Southern Ring Nebula stands as an example of a planetary nebula. These types of nebulae are formed by stars running out of fuel. When this happens, the star collapses, turning into a white dwarf. The white dwarf is covered in gas previously expelled by the principal, forming a beautiful nebula. Once the white dwarf has run out of fuel entirely, it will cool down and become a black dwarf, while the gas surrounding it will continue to expand, turning into a planetary nebula. The Southern Ring Nebula's shape comes from the fact that the progenitor star was rotating, causing the gas expelled by it to be caught in its magnetic field. This caused the gas to be stretched out into a ring as the star spun.

WASP 96 b

WASP 96 b is a planet that orbits a yellow dwarf star. This planet is unique because it's the hottest planet we have ever found. It's so hot that it's blue. To put this into perspective, this planet is more desirable than most stars. We don't actually see the Earth in this image. Instead, we see the light it reflects off of its parent star. The star's light is so bright that it's drowning out the light from the planet, making it invisible to us. This image was taken to see if the star had any planets orbiting it. It does, and this image helped astronomers confirm that WASP 96 b is one of its planets.

SMACS 0723

SMACS 0723 is a very young protostar. A protostar is an early stage of star formation where the star's gases have started to merge. SMACS 0723 is so young that we can't see it in the image. However, we can see its surrounding gas, which is heated by the star's intense radiation. This image is made up of false colors. Blue is the hottest gas, while red is the coolest. Since stars form from this blue gas, this false coloring makes it much easier for us to see where the star is forming.

Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula is a massive cloud consisting of gas and dust that can be observed from Earth with the naked eye. This image was taken in the infrared spectrum, allowing us to see through this gas and dust, revealing the intense beauty within. This image shows Carina Nebula's core, home to the star Eta Carina that created it. There is so much going on in this image that it can be hard to process everything simultaneously. Luckily, we can break it down:

The bright red bubble in the center is the dying star.

The lead heats the blue gas surrounding it.

The white areas are made up of dust.

The dying star releases so much radiation that it's heating the gas surrounding it to millions of degrees. This causes the gas to glow intensely blue, while the dust surrounding it reflects that blue light, causing it to appear white.

Stephan's Quintet

Stephan's Quintet is a group of five galaxies rotating around each other. These galaxies are so close that they pull gas off each other and form new stars. This process has been going on for billions of years, which explains why they look so young. This image was taken with an infrared camera. This type of camera allows us to see through the gas in the galaxies, giving us a clear view of the stars being formed. This image gives us a great idea of Quintet's core, where all the action happens. This region is so dense that we can't see it in visible light, but infrared cameras can penetrate the gas.

Conclusion

The James Webb telescope is an incredible piece of equipment. It is so powerful that it can see back to the first galaxies ever formed. This telescope will allow us to understand our universe on a whole new level, and we can't wait to see what it finds.

Webb will revolutionize astronomy; these images are just a taste of what will come. When the telescope is finally online, it will take us on an awe-inspiring journey through the universe, revealing the true beauty of our cosmos

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