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NASA Releases New Incredible Deepest Images Of The Universe Ever Taken


NASA Releases New Incredible Deepest Images Of The Universe Ever Taken

Simply breathtaking.

NASA has released stunning images of a stellar nursery, a dying star cloaked by dust, and a cosmic dance between groups of galaxies from its new superspace telescope. The release ends months of anticipation as people worldwide are treated to the first batch of a treasure trove of photos that will culminate in the earliest ever look at the dawn of the universe.

The new telescope, James Webb, has infrared capabilities that can see back in time to within a mere 100-200million of years; hence it can snap photos of the very first stars to shine over 13.5billion years ago. 

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via NASA

The telescope’s first images of nebulae, an exoplanet, and galaxy clusters have since engineered wide celebration in the scientific world on what has been hailed a great day for humanity. It’s also dubbed “the dawn of a new era in astronomy.” Notably, James Webb is a successor to the famous Hubble observatory.

Among the discoveries announced by NASA is that scientists have seen water vapor in an exoplanet’s atmosphere more than 1,000 light-years from Earth. The telescope also captured this SMACS 0723, a galaxy cluster billions of light-years from Earth.

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via NASA

Webb also captured the distinct signature of water, along with evidence of clouds and haze in the atmosphere surrounding WASP-96 b, a hot puffy gas giant planet that orbits a distant sun-like star every 3.4 days. One of the five jaw-dropping photos shows a planetary nebula caused by a dying star, a fate that awaits our sun sometime in the distant future. It was nearly half a light-year in diameter and is approximately 2,500 light-years away from Earth, and the Southern Ring Nebula can be seen.

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via NASA
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via NASA

Another image is of Stephen’s Quintet, located in the constellation Pegasus and is notable for being the first compact galaxy group ever discovered in 1877.

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via NASA

Four of the five galaxies within the quintet are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters. This mosaic is Webb’s largest photo to date, covering about one-fifth of the moon’s diameter. It contains over a 150million pixels and is constructed from almost 1000 separate image files. NASA has said the information provides new insights into how galactic interactions may have driven galaxy evolution in the early universe.

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via NASA

“Simply breathtaking. I think a lot of people will be choosing new screensavers this week,” British astronaut Tim Peak, who spent six months on the International Space Station back in 2016, tweeted.

Accordingly, Emma Curtis-Lake, an astronomer at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “I’ve just watched the release of the new images, and I am blown away by the sharpness and level of detail in all the images! My favorite moment was when they revealed the image showing the NIRSpec spectrum of a galaxy that is over 13 billion light years away. I’ve been impatient to find out how NIRSpec performs, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and test our models for my own research.”

“The NIRSpec is an on-board spectrograph, and it’s capable of taking spectra of hundreds of galaxies at once. The final image of the Carina Nebula was absolutely stunning, a really special moment you could hear the gasps from the people in the room.”

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via NASA

Furthermore, Webb also revealed an image of baby stars in the Carina Nebula, where ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds shape colossal walls of dust and gas. The cosmic cliff of the Carina Nebula, a star-forming region located roughly 7,600 light-years from Earth in our own Milky Way galaxy, had previously been pictured by Hubble. The new image offers a rare glimpse of stars in their earliest, rapid formation stage, including hundreds that had been hidden. 

However, Webb is the first-ever spectrum analysis of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and WASP-96 b has about half the mass of Jupiter; its discovery was announced in 2014. 

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via NASA

On the other hand, US President Joe Biden previewed the main event as he unveiled one of Webb’s images that showed a cluster of galaxies 4 billion light-years away from Earth. It provided the deepest and sharpest infrared look at the distant universe, capturing the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. He called it a historic moment for science and technology, astronomy and space exploration, and all of humanity.

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via AFP/Getty Images

This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is described as a composite made from images at different wavelengths and took just 12.5 hours to compile, as compared with the weeks it took predecessor Hubble to observe other ‘deep fields’ photos of a portion of the sky taken with a very long exposure time.

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