NASA delivers first batch of James Webb Space Telescope images

While the Hubble Space Telescope took weeks to take such deep-field photos, JWST only spent 12.5 hours to grab this view of SMACS 0723 and beyond. It’s more than just a pretty image, too, as JWST’s flawless infrared vision even allowed researchers to determine the basic chemical makeup of a 13.1 billion-year-old galaxy in the background.

JWST: the start of something special

Based on the quality of yesterday’s deep image, as well as other jaw-dropping images released today (July 12) during a livestream on NASA TV, the largest and most powerful of the world is clearly going to be a juggernaut.

The remaining images released today, selected by a team of representatives from NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, covered a range of different types of targets that JWST will study throughout throughout his mission. Today’s targets include two nebulae, a tight group of interacting galaxies, and a strange exoplanet in our Milky Way.

Specifically, today’s images show the Carina Nebula, a stellar nursery of massive stars located about 7,600 light-years away; the South Ring Nebulathe ejected remains of a dying star some 2,000 light-years away; Stephen Quintet, a compact group of interacting galaxies some 290 million light-years away; and WASP-96ba hot gas giant that orbits its star every 3.4 days and is more than 1,000 light-years away.

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