JWST Releases First Images

With the release of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first images, the dawn of a new era in astronomy has certainly begun. Check them out!

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan

Galaxy Cluster SMACS 072Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

This image covers a patch of sky roughly the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground. Here, you can see thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared. The light only took 13 billion years to reach us!

Southern Ring Nebula – Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Rings of gas and dust can be seen in this stunning image of the planetary nebula, NGC 3132, or the Southern Ring Nebula. The dimmer of the two stars at the center is responsible for sending these rings out for thousands of years in all directions.

Stephan’s Quintet – Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

In this image of Stephan’s Quintet, a grouping of five galaxies, you can see clusters of millions of young stars and fresh star birth, tails of dust, gas, and stars being pulled from several of the galaxies, as well as tremendous shock waves being generated as NGC 7318B smashes into the cluster.

Carina Nebula – Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

This is the landscape image of all landscape images! These “mountains” and “valleys” are dotted with stars (many likely with planets) and belong to the nearby, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.

As NASA released these images and I watched them flash across my screen today, I reverted back to my curious six-year-old self, finding pure joy and wonderment in the universe around me. I can’t image these feelings ever leaving either, not with so much to see, experience, and to try to understand.

I’ll forever be curious and thankful for the people that work tirelessly to capture the universe in all of her beautiful, destructive, and life-giving glory.

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