(ORDO NEWS) — NASA announced Friday that the first images of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope will include unprecedented views of distant galaxies, bright nebulae, and a distant gas giant planet.
The US, European and Canadian space agencies will jointly present on July 12 a major release of images from the $10 billion next-generation space observatory, the “scientific successor” to the legendary Hubble telescope, which promises to provide new clues to understanding the universe.
An international commission has decided that early targets for the observatory’s full-color “science” imagery will include the Carina Nebula, a giant cloud of gas and dust 7,600 light-years away, and the Ring Nebula, which surrounds a dying star 2,000 light years away. light years from Earth.
The Carina Nebula is known for its towering peaks, including “Mystery Mountain,” a three-light-year-tall cosmic “mountain peak” captured in the famous Hubble image (see title photo).
In addition, the Webb Observatory made spectroscopic observations of a distant gas planet called WASP-96 b, discovered in 2014. This planet, located at a distance of about 1150 light-years from Earth, is about half the mass of Jupiter and orbits the parent star with a period of only only about 3.4 days.
The observatory’s next target was a source called Stephan’s Quintet, a compact galaxy about 290 million light-years away. Closer examination reveals that it is a group of five galaxies, four of which “move in a ‘gravitational dance’, periodically moving closer and further away from each other,” NASA said.
Finally, the “tidbit” will be a composite image, which was collected by members of the scientific team at the Webb Observatory using a cluster of galaxies lying in the foreground called SMACS 0723, which acts as a lens that helps to see extremely distant and dim galaxies lying in the background.
This phenomenon is known as gravitational lensing and is often used by astronomers to observe very distant objects in the universe.
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