Five Spectacular New Images From The Webb Telescope You’ve Not Seen Yet

Since NASA released the first incredible images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) things have been pretty quiet. A few weeks later some stunning images of the Cartwheel Galaxy and, this week, some beautiful images of Jupiter were also published. However, for those expecting a flurry of incredible JWST images on a daily basis from NASA it’s been a waiting game.

There is a way to see JWST’s latest images. On Twitter and Flickr there are a handful of astrophotographers processing and posting some stunning images of JWST’s very latest observations. The raw image data is available from the MAST Portal, though processing it requires a lot of skill.

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So while we wait for NASA to drop more official images here are a few that have made it on to social media—largely from astrophotographer Judy Schmidt working on the long-running Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) survey studying stars and gas in spiral galaxies using several different telescopes. She recently posted some intriguing images of the Phantom Galaxy as seen by JWST and has since uploaded some absolute gems:

1. Dust in the ‘Great Barred Spiral Galaxy’

The incredible new image (main image at the top of this article) is the result of JWST’s ability to capture in infrared, which allows it to see through gas and dust .

Also known as NGC 1356, this dusty spiral galaxy is double-barred and exists about 56 million light-years away in the Fornax constellation.

“Interestingly, the dust bar isn’t nearly as prominent as it is in visible light,” said Schmidt on Flickr. “In the center is a modest active galactic nucleus (AGN). The circumnuclear dust is also quite striking.”

The image was captured by JWST’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), a camera and a spectrograph that sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

2. A close-up of the center of the ‘Great Barred Spiral Galaxy’

This close-up of NGC 1365, posted on Twitter by Schmidt (above), shows its nucleus. It was captured by JWST’s NIRCam (Near Infrared Camera), whose job it is to detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies.

3. IC 5332 spiral galaxy

Another example of how JWST’s MIRI camera is producing better-than-Hubble wide-field astrophotography images is IC 5332 (above), a spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the Sculptor constellation.

4. NGC 7496 barred spiral galaxy

Another barred spiral galaxy captured using MIRI, this new image (above) of NGC 7496 shows a bright active galactic nucleus (AGN). It’s over 24 million light-years away in the constellation of Grus. Here’s the Hubble Space Telescope’s view of this beautiful symmetrical galaxy from the same PHANGS Survey.

5. IC 1623B galaxy

This image (above) created by Roberto Colombari from data from JWST’s NIRCam instrument shows IC 1623B, a pair of interacting in the Cetus constellation. It’s 250 light-years distant. Like many distant galaxies IC 1623 is very bright when observed in the infrared, which is why JWST is proving such a boon for astronomers.

During its initial 10-year mission JWST will study the solar system, directly image exoplanets, photograph the first galaxies and explore the mysteries of the origins of the Universe.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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