The James Space Webb Telescope launched on December 25th, 2021. It is the newest and most powerful space telescope. It has been sending images and data to scientists on Earth since early summer 2022.
This telescope helps scientists study information and data from our universe's earliest galaxies and stars. NASA scientists have been discussing the image they received of the Southern Ring planetary nebula. The image depicts a gas that surrounds a dying star. Researchers found the image fascinating, particularly since this is what our own sun could look like in five billion years. They also report that the star is pushing out its outer layers which include oxygen and carbon that could help feed other space objects. This happens when a star is dying and a new star is coming to life.
This telescope sits 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and has allowed us to see the most distant galaxies we have ever observed. The Webb telescope has made many other discoveries. It has photographed a large variety of early galaxies that are estimated to date up to 280 million years after the Big Bang. It also discovered a younger area named NGC 3324 which shows “cosmic cliffs” and stars being created. NGC 3324 is about 8,500 light years away from Earth. This telescope has also found a massive gas exoplanet named WASP-96b. The telescope data allows scientists to analyze and investigate what seems to be water in its atmosphere.
There will be more data and information sent in by Webb. Hopefully, Webb will soon help us know more about how our universe was created.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal; pbskids.com]