Sharper Vision

This animation toggles between 2022 James Webb Space Telescope images and 2012 Hubble Space Telescope images of galaxy cluster MACS0647 and the very distant galaxy MACS0647-JD. JWST reveals far more detail than Hubble. Webb detects many more galaxies in the MACS0647 cluster. The three images of MACS0647-JD from JWST show two different features that are not the same color, with the larger area appearing redder and the smaller one appearing bluer. The Hubble images show only a single, pale, red, pixelated dot.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA /STScI

The Pillars of Creation: Hubble v. Webb

The Hubble Space Telescope’s 1995 image of the Pillars of Creation is one of the most well known astronomical pictures. It was updated in 2014 with a sharper, wider view taken in visible light; that’s shown on the left. The new, near-infrared-light view from the James Webb Space Telescope on the right cuts through more of the dust in this star-forming region. The  dusty pillars aren’t as opaque to infrared light, so many more new red stars can be seen.

Image Credits: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI

Webb Looks at Dimorphos

This image from JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) shows Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet in the double-asteroid system of Didymos, about 4 hours after DART hit it. A tight, compact core and wispy plumes of material  streaming away are visible. The eight sharp points are Webb’s distinctive diffraction spikes, an artifact of the telescope’s structure.

Image Credits: NASA / ESA / CSA / Cristina Thomas (Northern Arizona University) / Ian Wong (NASA-GSFC) / Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

JWST Looks at the Tarantula Nebula

The clouds in this JWST NIRCam image stretch across 340 light-years of the Tarantula Nebula’s star-forming region. The image shows tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously hidden by dust. You can download the full resolution image here.

Credits: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI / Webb ERO Production Team

The Cartwheel Galaxy

The first image of the Cartwheel Galaxy and its companion is a composite from JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). It shows details that are difficult to see in the individual images by themselves. The second image emphasizes the mid-infrared light captured by MIRI, revealing young stars and details in the dusty regions within the galaxy.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI

Jupiter in Infrared

This false color view from the JWST’s NIRCam instrument’s 2.12 micron filter shows the distinct bands that encircle Jupiter and the planet’s Great Red Spot. The iconic spot appears white in this image because of the way the infrared image was processed. The moon Europa is visible on the left, and its shadow can be seen to the left of the Great Red Spot.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA/ STScI

Not Everything Is About Your Sexual Orientation …

… but that hasn’t stopped outlets such as MSN from publishing this sort of thing.

NASA has shared the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) first high-resolution images of deep space, including some galaxies pictured 13 billion years ago—not long after the Big Bang. But despite this remarkable achievement for science, the JWST continues to stand as a bitter reminder of our country’s willingness to tolerate and even memorialize queerphobia.

The JWST first came under controversy last year when it came to light that its namesake, James Webb, oversaw the Lavender Scare during his tenure as NASA’s second administrator. The Lavender Scare was a McCarthy-era moral panic in which suspected queer employees were exposed and purged from government positions.

Regardless of your vanity, this song really isn’t about you.

The Southern Ring Nebula

The NIRCam and MIRI instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope captured the data used to create these false color infrared images of this planetary nebula NGC 3132 (aka the Southern Ring Nebula).

The near infrared (NIRCam) image is on the left. The mid infrared (MIRI) image is on the right, and it is the first ever to resolve both stars of the binary pair at the center of the nebula.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA /CSA / STScI

Stephen’s Quintet in a New Light

Here’s the image of Stephen’s Quintet that was released as one to the first JWST images yesterday. It’s a false color image assembled from infrared data from the MIRI andNIRSpec instruments.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI

Here’s how Hubble sees the same view in visible light.Stephan's_Quintet

Image Credit: STScI

Stephan’s Quintet in the constellation Pegasus is a visual grouping of five galaxies. These galaxies are of interest because of their violent collisions. Four of the five galaxies in Stephan’s Quintet form a physical association, Hickson Compact Group 92, and are involved in a cosmic dance that most likely will end with the galaxies merging.

If the Shutdown Comes, …

… I will be affected. I was planning to attend an System Engineering Seminar about the James Webb Space Telescope project at Goddard Space Flight Center tomorrow, but it will be cancelled as a non-essential activity if the government shuts down.

During my years at Goddard, I never worked on JWST. I’m hoping to learn more about the program in order to do some writing about its progress.