After the first preview, in which the president of the United States himself acted as master of ceremonies, NASA has finally made public the First scientific photos from the James Webb Space Telescope. It is important to emphasize that they are the first scientific photos, because in reality we have already seen many of their images. The difference is that all of them were the result of tests and adjustments of the telescope.
However, both last night’s image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, like those that have just been published, are already part of the work of James Webb. These are photos taken for scientific purposes, although for us mere mortals, they could basically be considered works of art.
It is not for less. Each and every image gives us a view of the universe unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Thanks to its ability to observe in the infrared, the James Webb can capture impossible details for its predecessor, the Hubble. But, beyond the showiness of the images, it is worth asking what is seen in them. And the truth is that, in terms of content, there have been no surprises. What NASA shows us is very similar to what was anticipated in the catalog of the telescope’s first objectives. We knew approximately what it would be, but we did not imagine it as impressive as we have been able to see while, little by little and dropper, NASA published each of the images.
X-ray to the atmosphere of an exoplanet
The James Webb has also dared with exoplanets in its first foray. It is true that he has not taken a photograph, but he has been able to capture a spectrum that will help scientists to obtain very relevant information about the atmosphere of the WASP-96b exoplanetlocated just over 1,000 light years from Earth.
What’s interesting is that this exoplanet was known for supposedly being the first cloudless exoplanet. However, the spectrum obtained by the telescope shows evidence of their possible presence.