The James Webb Space Telescope – an international premier space science observatory – has released its next wave of images, marking a new era for astronomy.
The $13 billion dollar observatory uses infrared camera to observe neighbouring planets, capturing the rocky and kaleidoscopic terrain with unprecedented clarity.
NASA has advised that while the Hubble Space Telescope has analysed numerous planets over the past 20 years and “captured the first clear detection of water in 2013”, Webb’s “immediate and more detailed observation” marks a giant leap forward when searching for potentially habitable planets beyond Earth.
The main image circulating on social media at the moment captures the Webb’s First Deep Field (AKA galaxy cluster SMACS 0723), which is approximately 2.5 million light years from one side to another. This is the largest physical distance of all the NASA first images!
Data collected reveals previously hidden details of the atmosphere makeup of neighbouring planets, such as the presence of water, haze, and clouds, as well as imagery of “cosmic cliffs” in the Carina Nebula 460 light years away.
Webb has also revealed never-before-seen details of Stephan’s Quinlet, a grouping of five galaxies. These details provide insights into how early the galaxies may have formed.
These images are set to transform the space industry as we know it. If you have an interest in space exploration, Adelaide is home to the Australian Space Agency.
A couple of days ago, the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC) – in collaboration with Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), based in SA’s Lot Fourteen – launched the the Dual-channel Extreme Ultraviolet Continuum Experiment (DEUCE).
DEUCE will gather measurements needed to model stars similar and smaller than our Sun, as well as understand their effects on planetary atmospheres.
ELA has been contracted by NASA to launch three rockets in June and July 2022. This is NASA’s first space Launch from a commercial Launch Site and Australia’s first ever commercial Space Launch.
To learn more about the Australian Space Agency, click here.
To see Webb’s complete image gallery, click here.
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Media release and images provided by Rebecca Wilson from Glam Adelaide.