The James Webb Space Telescope just opened up a new realm of the universe
There are few things as amazing as a low field view of the universe.
The powerful James Webb Space Telescope has just captured an unprecedented low-field view, which is an image that spans hours of exposures of a section of the cosmos. It allows astronomers – And you – to see some of the most distant and oldest objects we can possibly see today. In particular, Webb stared deep into the Pandora cluster, home to several galaxy clusters, revealing a rich image of diverse, distant galaxies, including spiral shapes resembling our own Milky Way. Around 50,000 objects are in this space panorama.
In a sense, a cosmic Pandora’s box was opened. (Without all the mythical evils and curses I guess.)
“The ancient myth of Pandora is about human curiosity and discovery that separates the past from the future, which I think provides a fitting connection to the new realms of the universe that Webb is opening up, including this deep field image of Pandora’s cluster .” said astronomer Rachel Bezanson of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in a statement(Opens in a new tab). Bezanson is the leader of a project called DISCOVER(Opens in a new tab) Webb uses this to take deep pictures of the universe, looking back into deep, deep times.
The Webb telescope’s new galactic image is stunning
Almost all of these objects are galaxies. The clusters are made up of the bright, fuzzy white galaxies. The brilliant six-pointed light in the foreground is a star. And some extremely distant red points of light could possibly be other things, like evidence of an early black hole.
Several large clusters of galaxies in the Pandora cluster.
Image Credits: NASA/ESA/CSA/Ivo Labbe (Swinburne)/Rachel Bezanson (University of Pittsburgh) // Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
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Telescopes have captured impressive images of Pandora’s box before, but not like this. Webb was designed to see infrared light — that’s light we can’t see — but because that light travels at longer wavelengths than visible light, it can essentially slip through the dustier and more gaseous clouds in the cosmos, revealing what’s beyond is. Webb’s mirror is also 21 feet in diameter, more than twice the size of the Hubble Space Telescope, meaning it can capture more light, which means more detail.
But it’s not just Webb’s extraordinary skills that make this deep view so amazing. It is the nature of Pandora’s cluster. The clusters form a natural “gravitational lens” that magnifies the objects behind them. All of these galaxies are enormously massive objects as contained hundreds of billions of stars Millions of black holes and maybe trillions of planets. The combined mass of these galaxies warps space like a bowling ball resting on a mattress.
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This distorted space essentially creates a “lens” through which we look. So the light from the galaxies behind this cluster of galaxies that we (or the Webb telescope) ultimately see is distorted. As the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the telescope, explains(Opens in a new tab): “It’s like having a camera lens between us and the more distant galaxies.” You can spy those lensing galaxies beyond the galaxy clusters: some of the reddish galaxies are stretched or distorted into arcs. These are some of the earliest galaxies ever formed. It’s a sight made possible by the combined force of technological prowess and nature on your screen.
“My first reaction to the image was that it was so beautiful, it looked like a simulation of galaxy formation.”
“The Pandora star cluster imaged by Webb shows us a stronger, broader, deeper and better lens than ever before,” Ivo Labbe, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia who also helped capture the image, said in a statement . “My first reaction to the image was that it was so beautiful, it looked like a simulation of galaxy formation. We had to remember that this was real data and we are now working in a new era of astronomy.”
Stay tuned. Webb, a science collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, has been operational for less than a year. And it’s not just about making discoveries about galaxies.
https://mashable.com/article/james-webb-space-telescope-image-deep-field The James Webb Space Telescope just opened up a new realm of the universe