What do the first images from the James-Webb Space Telescope tell us?

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Six months after liftoff, now in orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, the James-Webb telescope is working perfectly. The test began sending us images of the cosmos with an unprecedented level of detail. Here are three explained by three astrophysicists. 1The galaxy cluster SMAC 0723 This is the first image revealed by James-Webb. It was presented by US President Joe Biden on July 12, 2022, as in the heyday of the Apollo program in the 1960s. And it is already one of the most famous images in our universe. Take a look at the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the early universe ever taken, all in a day’s work for the Webb Telescope. (It literally took less than a day to capture!) This is the first Webb image released as we begin to #UnfoldTheUniverse: https://t.co/tlougFWg8B pic.twitter.com/Y7ebmQwT7j — NASA Webb Telescope ( @NASAWebb) July 11, 2022 This image is “a deep field,” explains Nicole Nesvadba, CNRS astrophysicist and director of research. “We aim the telescope at a part of the sky where there are a priori no particularly bright objects to detect those that are fainter in that part of the sky.” So the result is this photo in which thousands of galaxies appear, some of which are so far away that they look like a small red dot in the background. It is these less visible elements that are of particular interest to scientists. These are some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, formed more than 13.3 billion years ago. “In astronomy, the further we look into the universe, the further back in time we look,” recalls Nicole Nesvadba. And James Webb, thanks to these powers to see in the infrared, a light invisible to our eyes, makes it possible to go back further than any previous telescope. 2The Carina Nebula The James-Webb Telescope is just a wonderful time machine. It is also an instrument for analyzing the chemical composition of objects. In particular, to understand the formation of stars like our sun. A star is born! Behind the curtain of dust and gas in these “Cosmic Cliffs” have been hidden baby stars, now discovered by Webb. We know, this is a show. Take a second to admire the Carina Nebula in all its glory: https://t.co/tlougFWg8B #UnfoldTheUniverse pic.twitter.com/OiIW2gRnYI—NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) July 12, 2022 Here we are at our galaxy, the Milky Way, about 7,500 light years from Earth. And this is a nebula, also called a star nursery. “In the upper area, with this blue background, we are in an area where the gas is very hot,” explains Olivier Berné, astrophysicist at the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse and head of the telescope’s scientific program. James-Webb space. He continues: “Down there, you see these orange nebulae. They’re what’s called interstellar clouds. They’re made up of gas and dust. Inside these clouds, in places where it’s cold enough and the gravity is strong enough, clouds of gas. and dust can collapse and form new stars. In some places, you can see stars forming.” Note that we can see a nebula with the naked eye in our sky. This is the Orion Nebula, located 1,500 light years from Earth. 3Jupiter and its moon Europa James Webb’s infrared vision is also beginning to examine objects in our solar system. A first photo of Jupiter was released on July 14. Jupiter seen in infrared (at 2 micron wavelength) by JWST. We also see one of its satellites, Europa, and even its shadow projected onto the planet (black dot). This is just a first technical test. The best is yet to come. pic.twitter.com/MQivDj9f91 — Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 15, 2022 “In this image we see Jupiter and one of its four moons called Europa,” describes Tristan Guillot, astrophysicist at the Côte d’Observatory Azur and specialist in the formation of gas giants. “Thanks to James Webb, we’re looking at Jupiter at high infrared resolution, so we’re looking at the heat the planet gives off, which will give us a lot of information about its composition. We’ll also be able to study that big red dot on the right. It’s an anticyclone that’s been around for 300 years and we don’t know much about it,” says Tristan Guillot.

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