James Webb Space Telescope:
NASA unveiled images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful orbital observatory ever launched.
- The pictures, designed to peer farther than before with greater clarity to the dawn of the universe, were hailed by NASA as milestone marking a new era of astronomical exploration.
- Nearly two decades in the making, the $9 billion infrared telescope was launched on December 25, 2021. It reached its destination in solar orbit nearly 1 million miles from Earth a month later.
- The crowning debut image was a “deep field” photo of a distant galaxy cluster, SMACS 0723, revealing the most detailed glimpse of the early universe recorded to date.
- Among the other Webb subjects were two enormous clouds of gas and dust blasted into space by stellar explosions to form incubators for new stars — the Carina Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula, each thousands of light years away from Earth.
- The collection also included fresh images of another galaxy cluster known as Stephan’s Quintet, first discovered in 1877.