Webb Telescope: 5 stunning images reveal why it’s a gamechanger

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July 12 marks a new era in space exploration.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) finally revealed its first batch of stunning science images, a milestone for our ongoing survey of the cosmos.


At a press conference, NASA and its counterparts at the Canadian Space Agency and European Space Agency shared images of five targets captured by JWST for the first time.


While we’ve already seen them before with other telescopes, JWST’s eye on the universe reveals them all in a new light — figuratively and literally.


Here are JWST’s 5 targets, compared to older space telescope imagery:

5. The Spitzer Space Telescope captured this infrared image of the majestic Carina Nebula in 2005.

JWST’s near infrared camera illuminated numerous stars and structures previously unseen in this slice of sky.

Here’s the full panorama.


4. Two dying stars emit clouds of dust and gas that comprise the Southern Ring Nebula, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998.



JWST captured incredible depth and detail of the nebula in near-infrared (shown here) and mid-infrared light.


Astronomers even located a never-before-seen galaxy on the outskirts of the nebula.

3. A portrait of the five galaxies that make up Stephan’s Quintet, imaged by Hubble in 2009.

NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

An updated portrait by JWST in near-infrared and mid-infrared light shows the galaxies surrounded by other, more distant bodies.


STScI/RELICS Treasury Program

2. Astronomers previously constructed this layered image of the SMACS 0723 region with data from Hubble.

Here’s the same slice of sky, captured by JWST. Notice the gravitational lensing caused by gravity near the center.

James Webb Space Telescope

1. This is an artist’s rendering of the exoplanet WASP-96 b, which was announced in 2014 as part of the Wide Angle Search for Planets.


NASA didn’t release a direct image of the exoplanet, but this spectrum shows signatures of water vapor in the planet’s extremely hot atmosphere.

Understanding exoplanet atmospheres is essential in the hunt for life beyond Earth — even if WASP-96 b is far too large and hot to sustain life.


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