The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope captivate the world. These six unexpected things are hidden in the recording.
Frankfurt – Five Pictures, Created from the depths of the universe by the James Webb Space TelescopeInvolve space organizations in the project NASA, Essa and Csa published. Pictures have it all – on many levels. First, with many viewers who The fate of “Webb” predecessor “Hubble” The know-how has provided relief: After its launch in 1990, the “Hubble” space telescope delivered unusable images—a defect in the primary mirror necessitated an expensive repair mission. But with “Webb” everything went smoothly – very lucky, because the telescope is 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Then there’s the content of the first five scientific images that baffled even researchers. It was expected that the new $10 billion space telescope would give sharper images than Hubble and look deeper into space. But the recording quality is breathtaking. “We can’t take pictures of empty skies,” NASA scientist Jane Rigby said while presenting the photos. “There are galaxies everywhere we look.”
In fact, the first scientific images from the James Webb Telescope contained many surprises that left even researchers who were able to preview the images. An overview.
Surprise #1: James Webb Telescope Finds Galaxies Everywhere
A motif published by the “Webb” team shows the Southern Ring Nebula (NGC 3132). Two images of this planetary nebula in the Lyra constellation have been released. One of the images was created using data from the “Webb” instrument near-infrared camera (NIRCam). The picture not only shows the planetary nebula in great detail, but also the great distance of the universe behind it. The red region of the nebula and all the regions outside it are filled with distant galaxies. One galaxy (marked red in the image) at the left edge of the image deserves special attention: researchers thought it was part of a starlight or planetary nebula. In fact, the “web” here is looking at the edge of a galaxy.
Surprise #2: James Webb Telescope Finds Second Star in the Southern Ring Nebula
The second image of the Southern Ring Nebula uses data from the “Webb” instrument Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). With it, “James Webb” can look directly into the heart of the planetary nebula – and spot a surprise there: a second star (the star at left, red) in the center. So far, researchers have assumed that there is only one star in the center that is dying and releasing its material in batches – which gave rise to the Southern Ring Nebula. Webb’s MIRI instrument enabled researchers to detect objects shrouded in dust, like a red star.
Wonder No. 3: Black Hole in the Galaxy
An image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows Stephen’s Quintet, a cluster of galaxies that the new telescope imaged together. According to NASA, the image is the largest mosaic ever created from “web” data: it consists of more than 150 million pixels and was assembled from about 1000 individual image files. The image is beautiful and detailed – and if you look closely it reveals a mystery of the uppermost galaxy (NGC 7319): at its center is a supermassive black hole about 240 solar masses. This massive monster, seen with average vision in the image, emits enormous amounts of light as it engulfs dust, gas, and other material within the Milky Way. Its light is so bright that it beats out other features of the Milky Way.
Surprise number 4: The “web” photographs the oldest galaxies
that First scientific image released by James Webb Space Telescope, has it all. This is a so-called “dark field” in which the telescope observed a small part of the sky for 12.5 hours. The image shows hundreds or thousands of galaxies – and a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein: gravitational lensing. Objects behind a massive object are magnified by its gravity. This so-called microlensing effect is often used in astronomy to look deeper into the universe and also uses the “Webb” effect.
Galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 in the foreground magnifies objects that are much more distant. In the picture they look slightly bent or curved. Researchers cannot yet say how old the oldest galaxies in the image are, as the image has not yet been evaluated in detail. However, one thing is already certain: the galaxies can be seen on the image, which are 13.1 and 13.0 billion years old,
Surprise Number 5: What Did “James Webb” See in the Carina Nebula?
Astronomers are also amazed by the images from the James Webb Space Telescope. “What’s really going on here?” NASA scientist Amber Stron asked when she unveiled the “web” image of the Carina Nebula. As it did so, it pointed to a strange tubular structure in the nebula (marked in red in the image). one in Image description from NASA It says: “Ultraviolet radiation shining from young stars slowly destroys the wall of the nebula. Dramatic columns rise above the glowing wall of gas, counteracting this radiation. The ‘steam’ that rises from the ‘mountains’ What appears to be happening is actually hot, ionized gas and hot dust emanating from the nebula caused by incredible radiation.”
Surprise number 6: Characteristics of water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet
One of the images from the James Webb Space Telescope is not actually an “image” but a spectrum of an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Telescopes have observed how the exoplanet Wasp-69b passes in front of its star (a so-called transit) and probed its atmosphere. The result was surprising: a roughly Jupiter-sized exoplanet, which orbits its star once within 3.4 days and is similarly hot, contains water. The spectrum shows the presence of water molecules in the atmosphere. Researchers can also read an unexpected weather phenomenon from the curve: clouds.
James Webb Space Telescope: Research is just getting started
If you consider the level of detail and sharpness of the images from the “James Webb” telescope, one thing is already certain: the researchers involved will find many surprises in the images. In addition, the new telescope is now going into scientific operation – many more pictures and data will be published in the future. for astronomy A new era has begun and James Webb will revolutionize research for years to come. (tab)
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