A year of discovery from the James Webb Space Telescope
A million miles away from Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope is peering deeper into the universe than humankind ever has before. It’s been a year since the JWST’s launch. How do scientists rate its performance so far?
“I can’t think of a space mission that worked better than promised and that’s what Webb is. Just amazing,” Marcia Rieke, principal investigator for the near-infrared camera on the JWST, says.
The JWST has returned astonishing data and images of exoplanets, dying stars, the formation of galaxies and the birthplace of stars.
“Hubble was amazing. But it was nothing compared to this,” says science writer Joelle Renstrom. “It’s just the better we get at seeing, the more there is to see. And it’s just kind of leads to all these questions of, ‘Wow, what else are we going to see? What do we not know we don’t know?'”
Today, On Point: Delighting in the first year of discovery from the James Webb Space Telescope.
Marcia Rieke, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona, principal investigator for the near-infrared camera on the James Webb Space Telescope.
Nikole Lewis, Associate Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University. She’s involved with dozens of observational campaigns with the former Spitzer and current Hubble and JWST Space Telescopes. Previously she served as the JWST project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Lisa Dang, Postdoctoral fellow at Université de Montréal.
Joelle Renstrom, Science writer, also teaches rhetoric at Boston University.
The protostar within the dark cloud L1527 captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. (NASA)
This image combines images of the iconic star-forming region Pillars of Creation from two cameras aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Near-infrared light also reveals thousands of newly formed stars – look for bright orange spheres that lie just outside the dusty pillars. (NASA)
The central region of the Chamaeleon I dark molecular cloud, which is 630 light years away. The cold, wispy cloud material (blue, center) is illuminated in the infrared by the glow of the young, outflowing protostar Ced 110 IRS 4 (orange, upper left). (NASA)
The nebula of WR-124, a Wolf-Rayet star, is 10 light years wide. It’s made of material cast off from the aging star and dust produced before the star’s eventual supernova. (NASA)
This image shows a portion of an area of the sky known as GOODS-South. More than 45,000 galaxies are visible here. Using these and other data, the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey team has discovered hundreds of galaxies that existed when the universe was less than 600 million years old. (NASA)
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