One of those observations was a detailed study of the atmosphere of a gas giant planet called WASP-96 b, located 1,000 light-years from Earth. By watching the drop in light as a planet passes in front of its host star, JWST was able to detect the world’s atmosphere, a technique that will be used to study more planets in the future.
“The bumps and wobble you’re seeing indicate that There is water vapor in the atmosphere.” reveals the observations.
“These are probably the most difficult observations the JWST will make,” said astronomer Don Pollacco of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. JWST is expected to have an unparalleled ability to search for methane and other potential signatures of life in the atmospheres of planets similar to ours.
Also released today is JWST’s view of a dying star shedding its outer layers, a planetary nebula known as the Southern Ring Nebula, about 2,500 light-years from Earth.Views are more detailed than images Taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998 and revealed for the first time two stars known to be at the center of the nebula.
Another image (shown at the top of this story) shows a beautiful view of Stephen’s Quintet, a group of five galaxies about 300 million light-years from Earth. Four of these galaxies are interacting, transferring gas and dust between them. JWST’s view of galaxies in infrared light shows how these interactions drive star formation within galaxies in unprecedented ways. The optics of JWST are so powerful that even individual stars can be seen inside galaxies. “It’s remarkable,” said Mark McCollins, senior adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency. “We’re going to tune this telescope to 11x.”
The last image provided is a fresh look at the Carina Nebula, an active star-forming region nearly 8,000 light-years from Earth. JWST astrophysicist Amber Straughn, JWST Associate Project Scientist, said the magnificent view uncovered by JWST revealed hundreds of new stars never seen before, and even the structure in the nebula’s dust and gas could not be explained. .
“We were able to see more details,” said Straughn, thanks to JWST. “It really sheds light on what’s going on here.”
These images are just the allure of JWST. The telescope has now begun its first year of scheduled scientific observations. Countless more stunning vistas and tons of valuable data will come our way.
“This is a new window into the history of our universe,” President Biden said yesterday. “We’re getting a glimpse of the first light coming in through that window.”