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Stunning pics captured by NASA’s James Webb telescope so far

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On January 24, 2022, nearly a million miles from Earth, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reached its gravitational parking spot in orbit around the sun. The telescope intended to provide the world with an unprecedented look into the earliest stages of the universe sent stunning and images of the cosmos and many celestial choreographic events back to us.

Here are some of the most spectacular images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) during the year.

Clouds and cliffs

The ionising radiation being blasted from the stars above them is shaping the billowing orange clouds of gas and dust. In the dusty clouds, where new stars are forming, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals 3D details like the pillars and jets.

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Clouds and Cliffs: Telescope’s first image release, in July, was this landscape in the Carina Nebula about 2,300 parsecs (7,600 light years) from Earth. (NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI)

Additionally, the telescope peered through the obscuring clouds to reveal the distant galaxies and individual stars.

Pillars of creation

The dust that still surrounds them has changed the colours of the reddish stars that can be seen at the ends of several pillars. Bluish stars that are embedded within the clouds are those whose encasing dust has been largely blown off.

Pillrs of Creation: Towering fingers of interstellar dust reach into the cosmos in this view of the Pillars of Creation, a star-forming region in the Eagle Nebula.

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Pillrs of Creation: Towering fingers of interstellar dust reach into the cosmos in this view of the Pillars of Creation, a star-forming region in the Eagle Nebula. (NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI)

The location is in the constellation Serpens, 2,000 parsecs away from Earth.

Ringed planet

Dust bands glow close to Neptune, and the planet is encircled by a number of thin, bright rings. The infrared view from the telescope revealed details like brightness near the planet’s north pole and clouds encircling its southern polar vortex.

Ringed Planet: The ice-giant planet Neptune takes on an otherworldly appearance as it floats near its unusual moon Triton (the bright object in the top left).

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Ringed Planet: The ice-giant planet Neptune takes on an otherworldly appearance as it floats near its unusual moon Triton (the bright object in the top left). (NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI)

Near Neptune and its rings, there are six additional moons visible.

Distant galaxies

The faint red galaxy is one of the contenders for the farthest galaxy ever observed, a feat made only possible by JWST’s capacity to observe light from the far-off Universe that has been bent into far-red wavelengths by cosmic expansion.

Distant galaxies: Most of the galaxies in this image are part of a galactic pile-up known as Pandora’s Cluster, around 1 billion parsecs from Earth. But in the small box lies an extremely faint galaxy that is many billions of parsecs farther away.

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Distant galaxies: Most of the galaxies in this image are part of a galactic pile-up known as Pandora’s Cluster, around 1 billion parsecs from Earth. But in the small box lies an extremely faint galaxy that is many billions of parsecs farther away. (NASA, ESA, CSA, Tommaso Treu (UCLA))

We can observe the galaxy as it was only 450 million years after the Big Bang.

Cosmic cartwheel

When a small galaxy collided with a large spiral galaxy, its structure was altered, creating this strange, glowing shape. Much of the dust that typically obscures the details could be seen thanks to JWST’s infrared vision. Particularly in the spokes and outer ring, young stars appear as blue dots.

Cosmic cartwheel: Wheel-like spokes lead from a bright inner ring to a colourful outer ring in the Cartwheel Galaxy, which lies about 153 million parsecs away in the constellation Sculptor.

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Cosmic cartwheel: Wheel-like spokes lead from a bright inner ring to a colourful outer ring in the Cartwheel Galaxy, which lies about 153 million parsecs away in the constellation Sculptor. (NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI)

The colour red denotes regions abundant in hydrocarbons and other substances.

The most potent space telescope ever created, Webb has been in operation since July and has already released an abundance of unheard-of data. The hope is that it will usher in a new era of discovery.

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