From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope Via “phys.org” : “Webb telescope captures ‘breathtaking’ images of Orion Nebula”

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National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Infrared Space Telescope annotated, finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late.

From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

Via

“phys.org”

9.12.22

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The inner region of the Orion Nebula as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument [below]. Credit: NASA.

The wall of dense gas and dust resembles a massive winged creature, its glowing maw lit by a bright star as it soars through cosmic filaments.

An international research team on Monday revealed the first images of the Orion Nebula captured with the James Webb Space Telescope, leaving astronomers “blown away.”

The stellar nursery is situated in the constellation Orion, 1,350 light-years away from Earth, in a similar setting in which our own solar system was birthed more than 4.5 billion years ago.

Astronomers are interested in the region to better understand what happened during the first million years of our planetary evolution.


Webb telescope captures ‘breathtaking’ images of Orion Nebula.

The images were obtained as part of the Early Release Science program and involved more than 100 scientists in 18 countries, with institutions including the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Western University in Canada, and the University of Michigan.

“We are blown away by the breathtaking images of the Orion Nebula,” Western University astrophysicist Els Peeters said in a statement.

“These new observations allow us to better understand how massive stars transform the gas and dust cloud in which they are born,” she added.

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Credit: NASA.

Nebulas are obscured by large amounts of dust that made it impossible to observe with visible light telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb’s predecessor.

Webb however operates primarily in the infrared spectrum, penetrating the dust.

This revealed numerous spectacular structures, down to the scale of 40 astronomical units, or the size of our solar system.

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Orion Nebula: JWST versus Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Credit: NASA.

These include dense filaments of matter, which could birth new generations of stars, as well as forming stellar systems that consist of a central proto-star surrounded by a disk of dust and gas, in which planets form.

“We hope to gain understanding about the entire cycle of star birth,” said Edwin Bergin, University of Michigan chair of astronomy and a member of the international research team.

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Orion Nebula: JWST versus the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA.

“In this image we are looking at this cycle where the first generation of stars is essentially irradiating the material for the next generation. The incredible structures we observe will detail how the feedback cycle of stellar birth occurs in our galaxy and beyond.”

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. The James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

Webb telescope was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

Webb is an international collaboration between National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center managed the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute operates Webb.

Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.

There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

Webb Fine Guidance Sensor-Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph FGS/NIRISS.

Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

Launch was December 25, 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

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