NASA shares list of cosmic targets for Webb Telescope's first science images
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will soon reveal unprecedented and detailed views of the universe, with the upcoming release of its first full-colour science images and spectroscopic data.
Below is the list of cosmic objects that Webb targeted for these first observations, which will be released in NASA's live broadcast beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, . The event will also be broadcast via the CSA's YouTube and Facebook pages.
These targets represent the first wave of full-colour science images and spectra the observatory has gathered, and the official beginning of Webb's general science operations. They were selected by an international committee of representatives from NASA, ESA, the CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
- Carina Nebula. The Carina Nebula is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky, located approximately 7,600 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Nebulae are stellar nurseries where stars form. The Carina Nebula is home to many massive stars, several times larger than the Sun.
- WASP-96 b (spectrum). WASP-96 b is a giant planet outside our solar system, composed mainly of gas. The planet, located nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth, orbits its star every 3.4 days. It has about half the mass of Jupiter, and its discovery was announced in .
- Southern Ring Nebula. The Southern Ring, or "
Eight-Burst" Nebula, is a planetary nebula – an expanding cloud of gas, surrounding a dying star. It is nearly half a light-year in diameter and is located approximately 2,000 light-years away from Earth.
- Stephan's Quintet: About 290 million light-years away, Stephan's Quintet is located in the constellation Pegasus. It is notable for being the first compact galaxy group ever discovered. Four of the five galaxies within the quintet are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters.
- SMACS 0723: Massive foreground galaxy clusters magnify and distort the light of objects behind them, permitting a deep-field view into both the extremely distant and intrinsically faint galaxy populations.
The release of these first science images marks the official beginning of Webb's science operations, which will continue to explore the mission's key science themes.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world's premier space science observatory. 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.
Abridged text reprinted courtesy of NASA
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