Very expected: NASA has released the first long-awaited images from the James Webb Space Telescope. July 12 was the scheduled release date for the first batch of Webb images and data. However, at 11 a.m., NASA decided that President Biden should help release the very first image, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

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Webb’s first deep field was filmed with a Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and is a composition consisting of images taken at different wavelengths over a period of 12.5 hours.

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The first image shows a cluster of galaxies SMAX 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago and shows the effects of gravitational lensing on the distant galaxies behind it.

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Trying to appreciate the immensity of the cosmos can really melt the mind. According to recent estimates, our Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light years across (one light year is 5.8 trillion miles) and contains between 100 and 400 billion stars. Thousands of galaxies appear in Webb’s first image, and NASA said that this piece of the universe covers an area of ​​the sky about the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on earth.

On this scale, it’s easy to feel insignificant on this pale blue dot we call Earth. With any luck, Webb will help us better understand our unique place in the universe and perhaps answer questions we haven’t asked yet.

The second “image” from Webb is transmission spectrum created from a single observation using a near-infrared imaging device and a Webb slitless spectrograph (NIRISS). It reveals the atmospheric characteristics of the gas giant exoplanet known as WASP-96 b.

More data analysis will be needed, but preliminary findings indicate the presence of water vapor and clouds that overwhelm steam performance. NASA said peak heights and other characteristics were used to calculate atmospheric temperatures of about 1,350 degrees Fahrenheit.

WASP-96 b lies about 1150 light-years away in the constellation Phoenix. The planet revolves around its star approximately every 3.5 Earth days and was first discovered in 2014.

This is an observation of South Rim Nebula shows him almost face to face. The comparison shows the nebula in near-infrared (above, from NIRCam) and mid-infrared (below, from MIRI).

Pictured is a white dwarf similar to the Sun after shedding its outer layers and no longer burning fuel through nuclear fusion. It is located to the lower left of the bright central star and is easier to see in the mid-infrared image.

You may have noticed that the resolution of an image in the near infrared range is much higher than the resolution of a photograph in the mid-infrared range. This, according to NASA, has to do with physics. In short, NIRCam provides higher resolution images because the wavelength of light it captures is shorter, while MIRI’s wavelength is longer. The longer the wavelength, the coarser the image.

This mosaic is Stephen’s Quintet was compiled using almost 1000 individual images and is the largest image of Webb to date. It depicts a group of five galaxies collectively known as Hickson Compact Group 92 and was captured using the Webb NIRCam and MIRI instruments.

The name is a little misleading given that only four of the five galaxies are relatively close to each other. The outlier, NGC 7320 (the leftmost galaxy in the image), is about 40 million light-years from Earth, while the others (NGC 7317, NGC 7318A, NGC 7318B, and NGC 7319) are closer than 290 million light-years away.

Webb was even able to make out individual stars and the bright core of NGC 7320. NASA’s full-resolution image of this cluster is 12,654 x 12,132 pixels and weighs about 182MB, and is well worth downloading for inspection at a 1:1 scale.

Last but not least, this is an amazing image Carina Nebula, a space nursery captured by Webb’s NIRCam camera. The same area had previously been imaged by Hubble, but it lacked the detail that Webb is capable of. It’s like going from SD resolution on a tube TV to 8K on the latest OLED display.

The constellation Carina is approximately 7,600 light-years distant from us and was first cataloged by James Dunlop back in 1826. It is visible from the Southern Hemisphere, namely this area is located in the northwestern corner of the Carina Nebula.