The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a new image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The photos were published on the occasion of the anniversary: Exactly a year ago, the first photos of the machine were released.
The telescope is a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The device cost more than 10 billion euros and was launched into space years later than planned with the European Ariane 5 rocket, a type of rocket that made its last flight last week. It is the largest and most powerful telescope ever built.
A new photo released today shows dozens of stars being born. These are fifty young stars about 390 light-years from Earth in the so-called Rho Ophiuchi clouds. A light year is about 9.46 trillion km. The area is filled with hot gases, hydrogen, and cocoons filled with dust.
“Our Sun went through this phase a long time ago, and now we have the technology to see the beginning of another star,” said Klaus Pontopidan, a scientist with the US Space Telescope Science Institute, in a statement from NASA.
Overview of special images from the James Webb Space Telescope:
So the Webb telescope has been “loose” for a while now and the first images are kind of “eye opener“By astronomer Renz Waters of Radboud University Nijmegen.” It’s like sitting in a dark room. At once the light comes on and then you see: Oh, is that so? He says on the radio show NOS with a view to tomorrow.
A telescope actually consists of a very large mirror. “And the bigger the mirror, the sharper you can see,” says Waters. “But also: The bigger the mirror, the more light it can collect. And the dimmer the things you see, the farther away they will automatically be. And you’re looking deeper and sharper at the universe. And we really want to understand: how the universe actually came to be after the bang.” the great?”
According to Waters, Webb can map all kinds of objects very far from Earth very well. This concerns, for example, planets outside our solar system, the so-called exoplanets.
“We really want to understand if the planets we have here are very common, so you have to compare them to what planets around other stars look like. We can now map that in amazing detail for the first time using Webb. Planets have atmospheres, what does that atmosphere contain and do they Similar in composition to the atmospheres of our planets?
Waters may use Webb himself. The Netherlands is a member of a large group of countries that have contributed to the space telescope. This does not mean that he can actually look “through a telescope”. “Everything goes through a big NASA control center. But you make a proposal to use a telescope. Then there’s a committee that reviews that and if you’re very lucky you get selected and then the telescope does the observation.”
This month, Waters’ team has 35 hours to use the Webb telescope. This time is used to look at the sulfur dioxide content in the atmospheres of three exoplanets. Sulfur is one of the six essential elements for life on Earth.
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