James Webb Space Telescope, NASA shares list of first cosmic targets

Tomorrow is a great day for astronomy, in fact, July 12 is the expected date on which the first images and spectroscopic data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope will be unveiled, after the long operations of aligning the mirrors and the necessary final calibrations. and before initiating scientific operations. Of course there have been difficulties in recent weeks and to complicate everything there was also the impact of a micrometeorite that crashed on the delicate instrumentation, fortunately without causing irreparable damage.

So there are just a few hours left for tomorrow’s live video appointment, but NASA has already wanted to give us a clue of what we will be able to see, by sharing the list of the first cosmic objects observed by James Webb.

The objectives were selected by the partners who contributed to its development, namely NASA, ESA, CSA and the Space Telescope Science Institute, and in fact pave the way for the official start of actual scientific operations. Here’s what we’ll see tomorrow!

  • Carina Nebula. The Carina nebula is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky and is located approximately 7,600 light-years away in the center of the southern Milky Way. It measures an average of 260 light years and is one of the most interesting stellar nurseries to observe from our point of view, inside which there are stars of various sizes, even much larger than our Sun.
  • WASP-96 b. WASP-96 b is a giant planet outside our solar system that we only discovered in 2014. Composed mainly of gas, reminiscent of Jupiter but has a mass of 50% less. The planet is located about 1,150 light years from Earth and takes about 3.4 days to complete a complete orbit around its parent star.
  • Southern Ring Nebula. Also called the “Eight-Burst” nebula or NGC 3132, it is made up of an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star. It is nearly half a light-year in diameter and about 2,000 light-years from Earth.
  • Stephan Quintet: is a group of five compact galaxies located about 290 million light years away from Earth, located in the vicinity of the constellation Pegasus. It was first discovered in 1877 and is in fact the first such grouping ever observed. Although our line of observation may be misleading, it appears that only some of the five galaxies are really close to each other and have occasional interactions.
  • SMACS 0723: These are huge clusters of galaxies in the foreground that facilitate the observation of more distant cosmic objects, since the distortion of the light produces an effect of amplification of the objects positioned behind, allowing the observation of extremely distant galaxies otherwise impossible to identify.

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See you tomorrow at 4.30 pm, when a very interesting live broadcast from NASA will begin, in which the first images will be revealed and immediately made available on the social media channels of the agencies.

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