The primary set of science photos from the James Webb Area Telescope revealed marvellous stars and galaxies. Area reporter Leah Crane solutions all of your questions on these footage and the probabilities for JWST


12 July 2022

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A picture of the Carina Nebula taken by JWST


On 12 July, the primary set of full-resolution science photos from the James Webb Area Telescope (JWST) was launched. This set included astonishingly sharp footage of the Carina Nebula, the Eight-Burst Nebula, a bunch of galaxies referred to as Stephan’s Quintet and a galaxy cluster stretching the sunshine of the objects behind it, in addition to an evaluation of the composition of an exoplanet named WASP-96b.

Right here’s the whole lot you could know in regards to the telescope that took these footage and what it could possibly reveal subsequent.

What’s so particular about these photos? Didn’t we have now the Hubble Area Telescope earlier than JWST?

We did and do have Hubble, which produces so many beautiful photos of area. However JWST is manner greater, so its footage are extra detailed. It additionally observes in numerous wavelengths than Hubble, which permits it to see issues – notably tremendous distant issues – that Hubble can’t.

How near the sting of the observable universe will JWST be capable of see? I’ve seen 13.5 billion mild years quoted – that appears very near the age of the universe at about 13.eight billion years.  

JWST ought to be capable of see between 100 and 250 million years after the massive bang! However whereas that’s as much as about 13.7 billion years in the past, it’s not 13.7 billion mild years away – it’s a lot additional than that, due to the growth of the universe.

Will JWST research supermassive black holes? Can it produce a picture much like the one from the Occasion Horizon Telescope?

JWST can’t make an picture of a supermassive black gap just like the Occasion Horizon Telescope did – that’s a special sort of telescope – however it should research them. The truth is, the image of Stephan’s Quintet that was simply launched is offering some fascinating data on one already.

Is it attainable for gravitational lensing [like that seen in JWST’s first deep-field image] to be robust sufficient to see your self? Like, mild does a U-turn?

Sure! Black holes can have a function referred to as a photon sphere, the place gravity’s pull is so robust that mild orbits the black gap. So in case you purpose a light-weight simply exterior the photon sphere you possibly can, in idea, see that mild come across the different facet of the black gap.

If JWST can see 13.5 billion years again, may we sooner or later make a telescope that may “see” additional than the start of time?

I want! Sadly, there’s a basic restrict to how far again we will see, as a result of up till rather less than 380,000 years after the large bang, the universe was fully stuffed with scorching plasma and was due to this fact opaque.

Can we see additional again than 380,000 years after the massive bang with gravitational waves detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) or the Laser Interferometer Area Antenna (LISA)?

Love this query! Sadly, the reply isn’t any, as a result of gravitational waves come from the movement of lots, and there simply weren’t any buildings large enough to create measurable gravitational waves till about 100 million years after the massive bang.

With the info and imagery collected, is it attainable (and even possible) that scientists will revise the at the moment accepted age of the universe to be a lot a lot older than a mere 13.7 billion years?

It’s attainable that the info from JWST will trigger us to revise the age of the universe based mostly on new measurements of its growth, but when so, it should most likely go down somewhat than up. 

Was there something surprising in regards to the spectra of the galaxy and exoplanet obtained to date?

I don’t suppose there was something notably stunning within the information that’s come down to date. The photographs are all of programs which can be already very properly studied, however we simply have much more element now than ever earlier than. So, we’re seeing new issues, however I don’t suppose these are very surprising.

Why did the JWST crew select WASP-96b as the primary exoplanet to analyse the composition of? What was particular about it?

What’s particular about WASP-96b is that it isn’t cloudy – the brand new spectrum reveals some proof of clouds and haze, however not a lot. That’s good as a result of it permits the starlight to shine proper by the environment and for us to analyse it with out being blocked by numerous clouds.

How will astronomers determine what to take an image of [with JWST] subsequent?

The primary 12 months of science has truly already been deliberate out. Researchers made greater than 1000 proposals for what to look at, they usually have been chosen by panels of scientists. You may learn extra about what was chosen right here.

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