NASA recently shared amazing images from the James Webb Space Telescope. The first pictures were released six months after the telescope launched into space at the end of December 2021. The James Webb Space Telescope, or Webb, is a space observatory used by astronomers to study the origin of the Universe and its galaxies. Scientists also hope to learn more about the formation of stars. The Webb’s infrared camera captures pictures with details that were previously hidden from human view. Astronomers are using the images to explore the most-
–distant objects in space.
One of the initial photos from the James Webb Space Telescope is an image of Stephen’s Quintet. Stephen’s Quintet is comprised of five tightly bound galaxies. It was first seen by astronomers 225 years ago. Stephen’s Quintet is found in the constellation Pegasus. The group of five galaxies is about 290 million light years from Earth. Each of the five galaxies has as many as 100 billion stars! These galaxies appear to perform a cosmic dance. The sharp infra-red image has captured gas and dust that are heating up as two of the galaxies collide. The galaxies are in the process of merging. The new image of Stephen’s Quintet gives astronomers clues to finding out more about our past. The James Webb Space Telescope will allow us to continue to capture many more groundbreaking images and make new discoveries. Perhaps one day, a new planet with signs of life may be discovered.
What Do You Think? How could the new images help us find life in another galaxy?
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Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team