Merely 7 months post-launch, the James Webb Space Telescope‘s first science results arrived.
Its initial five targets will change astrophysics forever.
Here’s what’s known prior to JWST’s big reveal.
1.) Carina Nebula.
This hotbed of star-formation spans 250 light-years.
It contains Eta Carinae: our closest supernova impostor.
We’ve viewed its components in infrared light before.
JWST’s views will be sharper, deeper, and longer-wavelength than ever.
This “hot Jupiter” orbits its star every 3.4 days.
The exoplanet spectrum upcoming from JWST will reveal its atmosphere’s details.
Someday, similar technology will discover our first inhabited exoplanet.
3.) Southern Ring Nebula.
This planetary nebula arises from an isolated, dying, Sun-like star.
JWST will identify atomic and molecular abundances, mapping temperatures throughout.
Such measurements help scientists understand stellar life cycles.
4.) Stephan’s Quintet.
This compact galaxy group features four interacting galaxies with one foreground member.
These cosmic smash-ups are vital to galaxy growth and evolution.
JWST will resolve novel details about the stars, gas, and dust inside.
5.) SMACS 0723.
The massive galaxy cluster, itself, isn’t the focus.
Its gravity bends and distorts spacetime, magnifying background objects.
Gravitational lensing uncovers the most distant extragalactic objects.
- wavelength coverage,
- and light-gathering power
herald the JWST era.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.