These are the 10 most beautiful pictures

These are the 10 most beautiful pictures

From dusty nurseries full of protostars to giant galaxies with supermassive black holes, and from the icy worlds of our solar system to rare Wolf-Rayet stars. A year ago, the US space agency shared the first shots from the James Webb telescope and since then we have been spoiled weekly with the most beautiful pictures of cosmic space.

In this article, we list the ten most beautiful pictures of James Webb. These images are arranged by visitors to the Scientias.nl website. The lowest photo on this list received an average score of 8, while the first received a high average score, which is 9.

10. James Webb Captures An Amazing Picture Of Uranus (And Its Rings!)

In its first year, the James Webb Telescope has already taken several images of gas planets in our solar system, such as Jupiter and Neptune. You think the highlight of this image is of Uranus. More than 37 years after Voyager 2’s flyby of the icy blue planet, James Webb has captured new images. It shows a planet with an intricate ring system, a bright polar cap and possibly even storm clouds.

The ice giant is equipped with thirteen rings, 11 of which are visible in the photo below. However, some of these rings are so bright that when they are close together they appear to merge into one larger ring. In addition, we cannot ignore the extremely bright polar cap of Uranus, seen on the right. It is currently still spring in the North Pole, the part of the planet that is visible in the images. Summer won’t arrive until 2028. A bright cloud can also be seen at the edge of the polar cap. These clouds are typical of Uranus and are likely associated with storm surges.

9. The Orion Nebula, a photosynthetic nebula where stars are born

The Orion Nebula has been photographed many times, but James Webb’s latest image is the icing on the cake. They are the sharpest and most detailed images we have of the interior of the nebula.

James Webb set his sights on the constellation of Orion and then looked there for the Orion Nebula, located 1,350 light-years from Earth. The result is a gorgeous image of the nebula’s interior showing many fascinating features. What immediately catches the eye, of course, is the bar-shaped cloud extending from the upper left corner to the lower right corner of the image. It is a dense “wall” of gas and dust, in which the bright star θ2 Orionis A nests. In the upper right you can see a number of hot, massive young stars that are part of the so-called Trapezium cluster; An open star cluster in the Orion Nebula. These stars emit intense ultraviolet radiation, which slowly erodes the band-shaped cloud.

8.NGC 3132

About 2,000 light-years from Earth, we find a planetary nebula, also called the Southern Ring Nebula. The nebula (a growing cloud of gas around a dying star) is currently expanding at a rate of 14.5 kilometers per second. With the help of the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, researchers have now succeeded in reconstructing this star’s chaotic death and how the nebula acquired its unique shape. And this goes to show that there are quite a few “accomplices” to point to: at least four stars were responsible for the creation of this beautiful planetary nebula.

7. James Webb finds the fledgling star to be a lot of trouble

What did the sun and the solar system look like in the early days? You may like the image below. The picture shows a colored hourglass. And right in the middle, in the “neck”, is a newborn star. This star – L1527 – is very young, only 100,000 years old. This is the blink of an eye in cosmic terms. The flaming orange and blue clouds above and below the young star are visible only in infrared light. Therefore, they had never been seen before they were captured by the near-infrared webcam (Nircam).

6. Webb pairs up in a strange nursery and sees the previously unseen

This was one of the first photos that James Webb shared with the outside world. These are the so-called cosmic slopes in the Carina Nebula. This is a region at the edge of a giant gas cavity in star cluster NGC 3324. It is a hotbed of very young stars in a stage of development that is rarely seen. Precisely thanks to the presence of molecular hydrogen, researchers have discovered dozens of previously hidden energetic jets (jet streams) that shoot out from very young stars.

5. James Webb captures unparalleled detail of the super-rare Wolf Wright star

Wolf-Rayet stars are massive stars that lose much of their mass due to strong stellar winds. They only live for a short time and eventually explode into a supernova. Brightening in the image of James Webb, Wolf-Rayet WR 124 is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius. WR 124 is about 30 times more massive than the Sun and is busy shedding its outer layers. The star has already released about 10 solar masses of gas. This ejected gas cools – at some distance from the star – and then dust forms.

4. The James Webb Telescope takes a look at the Kartwell Wheel Galaxy – which produces beautiful images

The Cartwheel Galaxy, located 500 million light-years from Earth, is known for its rather odd shape. As the name suggests, the system looks like a wagon wheel; The result of a massive collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy. In particular, the collision affected its shape and structure; For example, the Cartwheel Galaxy now consists of two rings – a bright inner ring and a colorful outer ring. These two rings expand outward, similar to ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown into it.

3. James Webb Captures Stunning Snapshots of the Tarantula Nebula (Tens of Thousands of Previously Unseen Stars Spotted)

The well-studied Tarantula Nebula gets its name from dusty threads that stretch out like spider legs. Scientists like to study the nebula because it is a star-forming region and thus can give us more insight into star formation. Now it looks like the nebula still has many surprises waiting for us. James Webb took a closer look at the core last year and discovered new (primordial) stars.

2. James Webb and Hubble collaborate and present a beautiful picture

Second, a collaboration between James Webb and Hubble. See spiral galaxy Messier 74 like you’ve never seen it before. Both telescopes complement each other well. Webb studies objects at infrared wavelengths, while Hubble is able to pick up well at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths.

Even the smallest details appear in this beautiful image. Webb’s sharp eye, for example, reveals minute filaments of gas and dust in Messier 74’s massive spiral arms, which twist outward from the center of the frame. The absence of gas in the nuclear region also provides a clear view of the star clusters in the galactic center.

1. A brand new image of the world-famous Eagle Nebula scares viewers

The top three of James Webb’s top 10 photos would come as no surprise, because at the end of last year, those three photos also ended up on the podium during the “Space Photo of the Year 2022” election. The gold goes again to the Eagle Nebula, also known as the Eagle Nebula. This nebula is located 6,500 light-years away and is, of course, famous for its plumes of gas. Many young stars are forming in the dusty pillars. Unfortunately, these pillars do not last forever. Stellar winds from nearby massive stars “erode” the pillars, eventually destroying them.

The image was taken with Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Fun fact about the MIRI camera: NOVA (Dutch School of Research in Astronomy) was responsible for the main optics of the MIRI spectrometer and thus made an important contribution to the instrument. So the picture has a nice Dutch touch to it.

Click on the image to view a larger version.
Over the past few decades, space telescopes and satellites have taken beautiful pictures of nebulae, galaxies, star nurseries, and planets. Every weekend, we relive an amazing space photo from the archives. Enjoy all the pictures? Show them on this page.

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