Can you believe it’s almost been a year since we’ve seen James Webb Space Telescope’s first photos? To celebrate the first anniversary, NASA shared Webb’s stunning photo of the stellar nursery Rho Ophiuchi. but since we have a year of fantastic space images behind us, we’ll share a few more, just so you can feast your eyes on more cosmic beauty.
Happy birthday Webb: Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex image
To celebrate Webb’s first birthday, NASA published an image of a star birth like it’s never been seen before. It’s super-detailed and colorful, and it looks like almost an abstract or impressionistic painting. What you see in the photo is Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, a star-forming region the closest to our home planet. “It is a relatively small, quiet stellar nursery, but you’d never know it from Webb’s chaotic close-up,” NASA writes. “Jets bursting from young stars crisscross the image, impacting the surrounding interstellar gas and lighting up molecular hydrogen, shown in red. Some stars display the telltale shadow of a circumstellar disc, the makings of future planetary systems.”
In the image, the central young stars found in the discs are mostly of the same mass as the Sun or smaller. The star S1, the one in the lower part of the picture, is the biggest among them and is surrounded by a luminous cave formed by its stellar winds. The gas around S1 has a lighter color and is composed of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of carbon-based molecules commonly found in space.
Best James Webb photos from the past year
And now, it’s time to get reminded of some of the most remarkable images the Webb telescope took over the past year. These are not all of them, of course, but you can see more on a dedicated James Webb Space Telescope website. Enjoy!
With its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), James Webb telescope provided us with the first glimpses of Saturn and its rings. Beautiful and mystical even just as raw, black-and-white images, they got even better once processed.
James Webb Space Telescope made its own photo of the Orion nebula last year, and recently it discovered an essential life-forming molecule in the nebula’s debris disk. This is a revolutionary discovery, as this molecule has been spotted in outer space for the first time ever.
James Webb telescope revealed some previously unknown details of the Southern Ring Nebula, some 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Vela. And thanks to the new infrared images and existing data from ESA’s Gaia observatory, researchers were able to precisely pinpoint the mass of the central star before the nebula was created.
Webb’s near-infrared camera captured the protostar within the dark cloud L1527, located within the Taurus star-forming region. It looks like a fiery cosmic hourglass and its features are only visible in infrared.
The James Webb telescope brought us an entirely new look at the famous gas and dust pillars. Thanks to its infrared cameras, we got to see this star-forming region with details we’ve never seen before.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope sent back its first image of Neptune and its rings. It’s the clearest view of the ice giant in more than 30 years, and this is the first image to reveal the distant planet’s delicate rings.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured two new images of the planet Jupiter shoeing the planet’s auroras at each polar end of the planet. The images show the red spot in incredible detail, with the planet’s extremely faint rings and two of its smaller moons, Amalthea and Adrastea.
In April this year, the James Webb telescope took a gorgeous view of the planet Uranus surrounded by its 13 rings, 11 of which are visible.
This is a sight you can’s capture every day: a super-rare supernova prelude. It’s one of Webb’s first observations, and although it shows the “death” of a star, it helps astronomers learn about new beginnings.
European Space Agency used James Webb telescope to capture a distant portion of the sky, containing a crowded field of galaxies with one looking just like ours. The Milky Way’s doppelganger is a large spiral galaxy named LEDA 2046648, located a little over a billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Hercules. These around it are smaller, more distant galaxies.
We can’t celebrate the first anniversary without this one, can we? Webb’s First Deep Field was revealed a year ago, and it shows galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. In this image are thousands of galaxies, along with the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared.