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  • The Fascinating Mission of the James Webb Telescope

                The James Webb Space Telescope has been generating a lot of buzz over the past couple of weeks since its first images were released to the public. People have been sharing the images all over social media. It’s been a nice getaway from the regularly scheduled heated debates in politics that seem to dominate the internet. Everyone has been raving about it and taking up a new interest in astronomy. This article dives into what all the exciting buzz is about!

                The James Webb Space Telescope is an instrument unlike anything else made by man. It is uniquely positioned to capture images far more incredible than the Hubble Space Telescope. While Hubble orbited the earth very closely, JWST is situated approximately one million miles away from the earth, which is nearly 4 times the distance of the moon. It is far enough away to avoid the Earth’s shadow which would obstruct its vision. It also does not orbit earth but, rather, stays in line with the earth as they both orbit around the sun.

                Another essential feature of the JWST is its ability to see infrared light. Infrared light is light that the human eye cannot see. The Hubble Space Telescope can detect a very small portion of this light, but the James Webb Telescope can detect much more. Additionally, its faraway position from the earth keeps it cool enough to enhance its infrared capabilities. Infrared light can pierce through material such as gas and can therefore be detected more easily by instruments with infrared capabilities. This gives the JWST the ability to see space objects such as galaxies like never before.

                NASA has only released a select few of the thousands of pictures that the telescope has taken so far, but the pictures already have huge implications for the world of astronomy. Its photo of Messier 74, also known as the Phantom Galaxy, is a great illustration of the telescope’s new capabilities. Due to the telescope’s infrared capabilities, the photo depicts the galaxy in a completely different way. Ordinarily, images of galaxies look like they have a giant star in the middle. In reality, this is just a concentration of stars being absorbed into the galaxy’s supermassive black hole. So typical images of galaxies look like swirling gas with an egg yoke in the middle. However, JWST can pierce through the bright light and see the supermassive black hole through all the blinding light. The new image of the Phantom Galaxy taken by Webb, therefore, looks more like a wormhole than an egg yolk, leaving many astronomers looking at galaxies in a whole new light, literally!

                Additionally, NASA has released new pictures of nebulas, multiple galaxies in one shot, and other single galaxies. But perhaps the most interesting photo that it has taken so far is a photo of the most distant galaxy we have ever seen, supposedly born shortly after the big bang. One common theory that scientists allege is that the early galaxies after the big bang only had elements of hydrogen and helium. Scientists are currently studying these photos and working to determine if this theory is correct.

                As mentioned above, NASA has only released a handful of photos from the Webb telescope so far, but there are still thousands more that have not been released to the public yet, and there will be many more to come. The discoveries that have already come out of it so far have given rise to heightened enthusiasm as to what it will produce next. Here at Iler Networking & Computing, we love technology trends, and the James Webb Space Telescope is something that we are very excited about. Check out our website at www.iler.com to see more of our blogs and to find out more about the great IT services that we offer!