With the calendar showing February, the team behind the Webb Space Telescope has released the observatory’s picture of the month. On Wednesday, NASA shared the image in question, a stunning snapshot of a massive spiral galaxy in a part of the universe literally billions of miles away. While there are dozens – maybe even hundreds – of galaxies in the picture, a nice glimpse of LEDA 2046648 can be seen.
Like our own Milky Way, the spiral galaxy is just over a billion light-years away from Earth and is in the constellation of Hercules. “Taken during instrument calibration, this image helped test Webb’s ability to excavate galactic fossils,” NASA said in a release with the photo. “Ancient galaxies are so far away that as space expands, their light has stretched to infrared wavelengths — Webb’s specialty.”
NASA, along with the European Space Agency (ESA), hopes to use images and other similar data to explore the furthest reaches of space.
“One of Webb’s main scientific goals is to observe distant galaxies in the early universe to understand the details of their formation, evolution and composition,” the ESA said in a press release. “Webb’s sharp infrared vision helps the telescope see back in time, as the light from these distant galaxies is redshifted to infrared wavelengths. By comparing these systems to galaxies in the local universe, astronomers can understand how galaxies grew into the structure we Webb will also examine the chemical composition of thousands of galaxies to shed light on how heavy elements formed and built up as galaxies evolved.”
What is the Webb Space Telescope?
Basically, the Webb Observatory is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Using the new technology, scientists have been able to explore parts of the known universe that were previously unobservable.
“If you think about it, this is further than humanity has ever gone,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson previously said of the JWST. “And we’re just beginning to understand what Webb can and will do. It’s going to examine solar system objects and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether their atmospheres might be similar to ours.”
“Our goals for Webb’s first images and data are both to demonstrate the telescope’s powerful instruments and to provide a preview of the future science mission,” added astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at STScI. the images. “They’re sure to deliver a much-anticipated ‘wow’ for astronomers and the public.”
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