NASA and its partner space agencies revealed a stunning series of images — from the Carina Nebula in our own Milky Way to a cluster of galaxies much farther away — taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful space observatory ever launched. The photograph below shows Stephan’s Quintet, five galaxies, four of which interact and stretch each other with their gravitational forces.

Webb’s first image of the Southern Ring nebula, a dying star expelling gas and dust, in orbit with a younger star.

The Webb telescope’s image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 includes thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects ever observed in infrared. The light from the faintest and most distant galaxies in this picture is some 13.1 billions of years old.

A mid-infrared version of Webb’s first image of the Southern Ring nebula.

Work was performed on the James Webb Space Telescope at Northrop Grumman in California in April 2020.

The telescope’s image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 includes thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects ever observed in infrared. The light from SMACS 0723 in the image below is 4.6 billion years old.

Larkin Carey, an optical engineer, examining two test mirror segments for the James Webb Space Telescope’s on a prototype at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in 2014.

 

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