First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope
Image #2n
Webb’s First Deep Field
SMACS 0723
4.6 billion years ago
galaxy cluster
combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens
gravitational lens
A massive object that magnifies or distorts the light of objects lying behind it.
taken by Webb’s
Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam)
Image #12n
The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) is Webb's primary imager that covers the infrared wavelength range 0.6 to 5 microns.
a composite made from images at different wavelengths
exposition - 12.5 hours
(Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields took weeks)
field was also imaged by
Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)
Image #19n
has both a camera and a spectrograph that sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum
two of Webb’s instruments also obtained
spectra
Image #23n
Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec)
Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS)
Image #26n
A spectrograph (also sometimes called a spectrometer) is used to disperse light from an object into a spectrum.
Image #28n
microshutter array observed 48 individual galaxies at the same time
a new technology used for the first time in space
Wide-Field Slitless Spectroscopy
capture spectra of all the objects in the entire field of view at once
it proves that one of the galaxies has a mirror image
Image #34n
Other pictures include...
Carina Nebula
Image #36n
star-forming region
in the southern constellation Carina
Image #40n
rapid phases of star formation that were previously hidden
Stephan’s Quintet
Image #43n
a grouping of five galaxies
Webb’s largest image to date
150 million pixels
from 1,000 separate image files
huge shock waves as one of the galaxies, NGC 7318B, smashes through the cluster.
Southern Ring Nebula
Image #50n
Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam)
Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)
planetary nebula
cataloged as NGC 3132
2,500 light-years away
The dimmer star at the center of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions
the brighter star influences the nebula’s appearance. As the pair continues to orbit one another, they “stir the pot” of gas and dust, causing asymmetrical patterns.
Each shell represents an episode where the fainter star lost some of its mass
The widest shells of gas toward the outer areas of the image were ejected earlier
In thousands of years, these delicate layers of gas and dust will dissipate into surrounding space.
WASP-96 b
Image #62n
a hot, puffy gas giant planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star
a diameter 1.2 times greater than Jupiter
but mass less than half that of Jupiter
"puffy"
1,150 light-years away in the southern-sky constellation Phoenix
Image #66n
one of more than 5,000 confirmed exoplanets in the Milky Way
orbits extremely close to its Sun-like star
just one-ninth of the distance between Mercury and the Sun
completing one circuit every roughtly 4 Earth-days
a temperature greater than 1000°F
Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS)
measured light for 6.4 hours as the planet moved across the star
obtained transit light curve
Image #77n
the transmission spectrum reveals previously hidden details of the atmosphere: the unambiguous signature of water, indications of haze, and evidence of clouds that were thought not to exist based on prior observations
the most detailed near-infrared transmission spectrum of an exoplanet atmosphere captured to date
The extraordinarily detailed spectrum – made by simultaneously analyzing 280 individual spectra captured over the observation – provides just a hint of what Webb has in store for exoplanet research

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