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James Webb Telescope Reveals a Galaxy of Galaxies

by Jim DeLillo 2 months ago in space / science / photography / humanity / feature / extraterrestrial / astronomy / art
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Are we alone?

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date

Peering through the Dust

There has been a lot of press about the launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

How does it compare to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)?

First and foremost is the size of the mirror.

Webb will have an approximately 6.5-meter diameter primary mirror; Hubble's mirror is a much smaller 2.4 meters in diameter. Making the light gathering of the Webb around 6.25 times more collecting area.

As astrophotographers, we are used to looking at the impressive visual wavelength results that the Hubble has been sending back for years. The JWST operates in the Infrared and Near-Infrared wavelengths. Because of that, the instrument is designed to pierce the veil of dust clouds that define our nebula observations. What we will see instead is the point light sources–stars and galaxies now hidden by that dust. An amazing feat, but the dust does not block the longer infrared wavelengths. What we gain is the ability to gather data beyond our visible reach and hence farther into the past.

#### 31DEC2021 Previously Published in TelescopeLive

Mirror Size Comparison (JWST/NASA)

Comparison of the Carina Nebula in visible light (left) and infrared (right), both images by Hubble. In the infrared image, we can see more stars that weren't visible before. Credit: NASA/ESA/M. Livio & Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

James Webb Telescope Reveals a Galaxy of Galaxies

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date

In the area of a single grain of sand, we can see billions and billions (with homage to Carl Sagan) of galaxies, revealed by

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

In the photo above, the first image from the telescope is out, giving one a mind-numbing view of the cosmos.

Each galaxy, the fuzzy spots of light, contains billions of stars, and now I feel like I live on a dust speck—a Dr. Seuss's "Who" in the vastness of the universe.

The image above taken by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)]represents an area of the sky with an optical resolution of 17 milli-arc seconds, 0.0000194 degrees of sky. A full moon measures 0.5 degrees.

NASA just released the first images from the world’s most powerful and largest space telescope, and it gives us a mind-numbing view of the cosmos.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has given us the highest-resolution view of the universe to date, allowing us to see star clusters and other small-scale objects in rich detail.

Looking closely, you will notice some curvature associated with the individual galaxies. Gravitational lensingis responsible for this effect. The immense gravitational field of the foreground galaxy cluster causes light to bend around it, magnifying in the process.

Look even more closely; you will see the background galaxies in such high resolution that star clusters and other small-scale objects in rich detail.

So ponder the question–" Are we alone?"

Like an episode out of Whoville; with all those galaxies, you can’t convince me that there is no extraterrestrial life out there.

Will we be dismissed as just a speck of dust? Will we need to shout from the rooftops or send out signals via radio telescopes?

If we haven't found any additional life in the universe, maybe the life that is out there hasn't found us, either. Considering the magnitude of the age of the universe and the uncountable quantity of galaxies supporting innumerable star systems–the number of planets is staggering. We must be very eg0-centric to believe that on not one of the worlds, not only life, but intelligent life hasn't evolved. We must be very full of ourselves, indeed.

The additional real science that the JWST allows us to conduct can only deepen our understanding of the cosmos and our place in the universe.

It is exciting to think that we get to see it.

This iconic image is available printed on acrylic giving the image depth.

The photo is also available in jigsaw puzzle form.

Be sure to read Jim Delillo's other featured stories on Vocal

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About the author

Jim DeLillo

Jim DeLillo writes about tech, science, and travel. He is also an adventure photographer specializing in transporting imagery and descriptive narrative.

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