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Best Space Pictures From JWST

Since becoming operational in July 2022, the observatory - about one million miles from Earth - has delivered a steady stream of beautiful cosmic pictures.


These remarkable images enable scientists to peer back through time at our early Universe and let's the rest of us enjoy the far distant magnificence of parts of our solar system.


Here are some of OGN's favourite images captured by JWST thus far:


Cartwheel Galaxy
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

This image of the Cartwheel Galaxy and its companion galaxies is a composite from JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).

 
Phantom Galaxy
Image: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team

JWST peered through dust and gas to see a star cluster at the center of M74, the Phantom Galaxy. M74 is a particular class of spiral galaxy known as a ‘grand design spiral’, meaning that its spiral arms are prominent and well-defined.

 
Tarantula Nebula
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

This image of the Tarantula Nebula captured by JWST spans 340 light-years across. The observatory's infrared detectors revealed a cluster of never-before-seen young stars at the center of the image that were previously shrouded by dust.

 
Neptune's Rings
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI. Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).

Neptune and its rings shine in this ethereal infrared image. Not since Voyager 2 flew past Neptune in 1989 have the planet’s rings been revealed in such clarity.

 
Carina Nebula
Image: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Stunning view of the Carina Nebula, located about 7,500 light-years from Earth. Nicknamed the "cosmic cliffs," it's essentially a nursery for young stars, some of them several times larger than our own Sun.

 
Southern Ring Nebula
Image: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

The Southern Ring or “Eight-Burst” nebula is a planetary nebula located about 2,000 light-years from Earth. These side-by-side images show a star's death; gas emanating from a dying star. Both images were taken by NASA's JWST in near-infrared light (left) and mid-infrared light (right).

 
Stephan's Quintet
Image: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Stephan’s Quintet is the name given to a visual grouping of five galaxies located about 290 million light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. JWST shows shock waves, tidal tails, and more astonishing details about these distant galaxies. Four of the five galaxies in Stephan's Quintet regularly interact with each other, creating the stunning display we see here.

 
Jupiter and its rings
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.

JWST's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) captured this image of Jupiter showing its auroras and rings. NIRCam has three specialized infrared filters that showcase details of the planet. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light has been mapped onto the visible spectrum. Generally, the longest wavelengths appear redder and the shortest wavelengths are shown as more blue. Scientists collaborated with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate the Webb data into images.

 

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