Astounding revelations have emerged as researchers, harnessing the remarkable capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, uncovered a captivating phenomenon: a captivating water vapor plume emanating from Saturn’s enchanting moon, Enceladus. This remarkable plume stretches a staggering distance of over 6,000 miles, equivalent to the approximate span between the vibrant cities of Los Angeles, California, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Webb is providing scientists with a first-ever direct view of how this water emission feeds the water supply for the entire Saturnian system and its rings. In a monumental stride for scientific discovery, never before have we witnessed such a captivating spectacle—a water emission of this magnitude stretching across an expansive distance.

Enceladus, a captivating oceanic world measuring a mere 313 miles in diameter and roughly 4% of Earth’s size, stands as an exceptionally alluring scientific pursuit within our solar system when it comes to the quest for alien life.

A vast pool of salty water sits between the moon’s rocky core and frozen outer surface. Informally known as “tiger stripes,” geyser-like volcanoes spray jets of ice particles, water vapor, and organic compounds out of the moon’s surface.

Observatories had previously measured moon jets hundreds of kilometers away, but Webb’s extraordinary sensitivity exposes a new story.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus
In this image, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows a water vapor plume jetting from the southern pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, extending out 20 times the size of the moon itself. The inset, an image from the Cassini orbiter, emphasizes how small Enceladus appears in the Webb image compared to the water plume.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and G. Villanueva (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center). Image Processing: A. Pagan (STScI).

“When I was looking at the data, at first, I was thinking I had to be wrong. It was just so shocking to detect a water plume more than 20 times the size of the moon,” said lead author Geronimo Villanueva of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The water plume extends far beyond its release region at the southern pole.”

The researchers were interested in more than just the plume’s length. It is also very astonishing how quickly the water vapor is erupting—about 79 gallons per second. At this pace, we’d have an Olympic-sized swimming pool filled in no time. On our beloved Earth, achieving the same feat with a garden hose would take over two weeks.

Throughout its decade-long exploration of the Saturnian system, the Cassini orbiter captured the first images of Enceladus’s plumes and even flew through them to collect samples of their constituent materials. While Cassini’s position within the Saturnian system gave it invaluable insights into this far-off moon, Webb’s singular view from the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 2 and the astounding sensitivity of its Integral Field Unit aboard the NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) Instrument is providing new context.

“The orbit of Enceladus around Saturn is relatively quick, just 33 hours. As it whips around Saturn, the moon and its jets are basically spitting off water, leaving a halo, almost like a donut, in its wake,” said Villanueva. “In the Webb observations, not only was the plume huge, but there was just water absolutely everywhere.”

The dense “E-ring,” Saturn’s outermost and broadest ring, is present with the fuzzy torus of water that was observed to be “everywhere.”

The Webb observations clearly show how the torus is fueled by the moon’s water vapor plumes. According to an analysis of the Webb data, only around 30% of the water in this torus escapes, supplying the remaining 70% of the water in the Saturnian system.

Webb will be the main observatory for the ocean moon Enceladus in the coming years, and findings from Webb will help guide future solar system satellite missions that will try to investigate the depth of the underlying ocean, the thickness of the ice crust, and other things.

Water Vapor Plume
In this image, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s instruments are revealing details into how one of Saturn’s moon’s feeds a water supply to the entire system of the ringed planet. New images from Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) have revealed a water vapor plume jetting from the southern pole of Enceladus, extending out more than 20 times the size of the moon itself. The Integral Field Unit (IFU) aboard NIRSpec also provided insights into how the water from Enceladus feeds the rest of its surrounding environment.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Leah Hustak (STScI)

“Right now, Webb provides a unique way to directly measure how water evolves and changes over time across Enceladus’ immense plume, and as we see here, we will even make new discoveries and learn more about the composition of the underlying ocean,” added co-author Stefanie Milam at NASA Goddard. “Because of Webb’s wavelength coverage and sensitivity, and what we’ve learned from previous missions, we have an entire new window of opportunity in front of us.”

Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) program 1250 was used to conclude Webb’s observations of Enceladus. This program’s first objective is to showcase Webb’s expertise in a certain scientific field and lay the groundwork for further research.

“This program was essentially a proof of concept after many years of developing the observatory, and it’s just thrilling that all this science has already come out of quite a short amount of observation time,” said Heidi Hammel of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Webb interdisciplinary scientist and leader of the GTO program.

The galactic merger of Arp 220, has recently been featured in a stunning image taken by NASA’s forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Arp 220 is an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy. It emits over a trillion suns’ worth of luminosity. This galaxy is a remarkable example of intense star formation. The collision of two spiral galaxies triggered this phenomenon. The collision began about 700 million years ago. It led to the formation of around 200 massive star clusters. The Webb telescope has released a new image of Arp 220. It shows faint tidal tails and organic material in streams and filaments. The image also reveals evidence of the ongoing galactic dance.

So let’s start by,

What is Arp 220?

Arp 220 is a 250 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Serpens, is the ultra-luminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG). It is a spectacular merging pair of spiral galaxies that began colliding around 700 million years ago. As a result of this collision, approximately 200 large star clusters have formed and are located within a congested, dusty area spanning 5,000 light-years. Arp 220 shines in the light of more than a trillion suns and is the nearest ULIRG to us and the brightest of the three galactic mergers closest to Earth. The entire Milky Way galaxy’s worth of gas is visible in this minuscule area.

A huge explosion of star creation resulted from the collision of two spiral galaxies some 700 million years ago. As a result, a densely packed, dusty region formed, roughly 200 large star clusters spanning approximately 5,000 light-years. Furthermore, the collision between these two spiral galaxies created around 200 huge star clusters, starting some 700 million years ago. Additionally, the region measured 5,000 light-years across and was crowded and dusty. Notably, this small area contains as much gas as the entire Milky Way galaxy does.

The galaxy has been studied previously by radio telescopes, which revealed about 100 supernova remnants, and by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which uncovered the cores of the parent galaxies. Webb recently captured Arp 220 with its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The image reveals the stunning beauty of the galactic merger in infrared light. Moreover, the faint tidal tails and organic material in streams and filaments across Arp 220.

One more thing that might pop up in your head,

Has Arp 220 Been Captured Before? A Look at Past Observations of this Remarkable Object

The latest photo from the James Webb Space Telescope offers a new and intriguing view of Arp 220. This object has already been studied extensively in the past, but has remained a captivating subject for astronomers for many years. Arp 220 is one of the nearest and brightest examples of a galaxy experiencing a significant burst of star formation.

It is an extremely bright infrared galaxy that may be found around 250 million light-years away in the Serpens constellation. As a result, this object has attracted the attention of numerous telescopes over the years to solve its secrets.

The Hubble Space Telescope made a significant observation of Arp 220.  This exposed an intricate web of filaments and bubbles in the galaxy’s surrounding gas and dust. This image also showed evidence of two merging galaxies at the center of Arp 220. This was later confirmed by subsequent observations.

Despite these earlier observations, the recent image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope provides a much clearer view of Arp 220 and reveals details that were previously unseen.

Now let’s discuss the,

Webb’s imaging of Arp 220:

NASA’s newest and most potent space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, beautifully depicted the Arp 220 cosmic collision between two spiral galaxies in a photograph. This stunning collision ignited a burst of star formation, resulting in a dazzling display of over a trillion suns shining in infrared light.

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the Webb telescope caught this galaxy merger in unparalleled detail. A rotating ring of star formation surrounds each of the galactic cores. Which is emitting brilliant infrared light and produces a striking spiked starburst characteristic. The image shows blue tidal tails drawn off by gravity, revealing the galactic dance. Arp 220 displays streams and filaments of reddish-orange colored organic material.

Lastly, let’s conclude this with,


The James Webb Space Telescope’s amazing image gives us a peek at the breathtaking and awe-inspiring magnificence of our cosmos. It displays the impressive capabilities of this amazing observatory and what we might anticipate learning in the upcoming years. We may be certain that we will explore and uncover the beauty of space as long as we have space technology like JSWT.


Published by: Sky Headlines

The NASA James Webb Space Telescope captured a stunning image on Feb. 6, 2023, of Uranus, an ice-giant planet, revealing its bright cloud and faint extended features beyond the polar cap. “Icy” materials make up the planet, which has 13 known rings and 27 known moons. The image shows 11 visible rings and the wide-view image highlights the six brightest moons. This image provides scientists with valuable insight into the planet’s storm activity and composition. With its sensitivity and longer wavelengths, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) has revealed new details of Uranus Rings and Moons that have not been seen with other powerful telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Observatory. The James Webb Space Telescope can do much more, and scientists plan to conduct further studies of Uranus during the first year of Webb’s science operations.

Uranian system
This wider view of the Uranian system with Webb’s NIRCam instrument features the planet Uranus as well as six of its 27 known moons. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI. Image processing: J. DePasquale (STScI)

First, let’s find out,

What do we know about Uranus so far?

Uranus is one of the outermost planets in our solar system, known for its unique tilt and blue-green appearance. This gas giant also boasts an impressive collection of moons and rings. Scientists have named 27 moons orbiting Uranus after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. People named Uranus’ moons differently from those of other planets, which mostly have names based on Greek and Roman mythology. Roughly equal amounts of water ice and rock compose the inner moons of Uranus, while we do not know the composition of the outer moons. Astronomers believe that asteroids likely captured the outer moons.

Moreover, Uranus has two distinct sets of rings, which consist of narrow, dark grey rings in the inner system and a reddish innermost ring, and a blue outermost ring. Zeta, 6, 5, 4, Alpha, Beta, Eta, Gamma, Delta, Lambda, Epsilon, Nu, and Mu are the rings in order of distance from the planet. The outermost ring is similar in appearance to Saturn’s E ring. Some of the larger rings are surrounded by belts of fine dust, and the exact composition and origin of the rings remain a topic of research.

Now, let’s dig into,

What have scientists observed in Webb’s new image?

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope recently captured a remarkable image of Uranus Rings and Moons. The image shows the planet’s dramatic rings and features in its atmosphere. Moreover, The image also demonstrates Webb’s unparalleled sensitivity for faint dusty rings. 

The image shows that Uranus has 13 known rings, 11 of which are visible in the image. Nine of these are considered the planet’s main rings, while the remaining two are the fainter dusty rings that were discovered during the 1986 Voyager 2 flyby. Future Webb images of Uranus are expected to reveal the two faint outer rings discovered in 2007 with the Hubble telescope. Additionally, Webb’s image captures many of Uranus’ 27 known moons, with the six brightest ones identified in the wide-view image. It was only a short 12-minute exposure image of Uranus with two filters, and scientists anticipate that Webb will be able to reveal more about this mysterious planet.

Extreme Seasons on Uranus:

Scientists consider Uranus an ice giant because of its interior’s chemical makeup. Scientists believe that a hot, dense fluid of “icy” materials like water, methane, and ammonia exists above a small rocky core, making up the majority of its mass. The planet is unique in that it rotates on its side, causing extreme seasons since its poles experience years of constant sunlight followed by years of complete darkness.

The image was taken in late spring at the northern pole, which means that summer on Uranus won’t arrive until 2028. The planet’s atmosphere is dynamic, and its polar cap is unique. The polar cap seems to appear when the pole enters direct sunlight in the summer and vanishes in the fall. The Webb image reveals an unexpected feature of the polar cap, a subtly enhanced brightening at its center. Other powerful telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Observatory have not clearly seen this feature.

Webb’s image of Uranus is significant because it provides more details about the planet’s rings, moons, and atmosphere. The sensitivity and longer wavelengths of Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) make it possible to see more details and reveal surprising aspects of the planet’s polar cap. Webb’s observations of Uranus will help scientists understand the planet’s mysteries and provide more insight into ice giants like Uranus. 

Now, you probably might be wondering,

Has Uranus ever studied like this before?

Yes, Uranus has been studied extensively in the past using ground-based telescopes and the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which made a close flyby of the planet in 1986. The James Webb Space Telescope recently captured an image of Uranus with unprecedented detail and sensitivity in the infrared wavelengths, which can reveal features not seen before. Two other facilities, the Voyager 2 spacecraft and the Keck Observatory, have imaged the faintest dusty rings around Uranus. The new image also shows the observatory’s sensitivity to these rings. So, while Uranus has been studied before, the James Webb Space Telescope’s capabilities allow for a new level of understanding and discovery of this mysterious planet.

Lastly, we should conclude,

On the whole:

The recent image of Uranus captured by the James Webb Space Telescope is a reminder of the beauty and wonder that exists beyond our planet. This new information provides scientists with valuable insight into the planet’s storm activity and composition. It’s amazing to think about the technology and advancements that make such discoveries possible. We are just scratching the surface of uncovering the mysteries that fill the universe. . Scientists are eager to push the boundaries of their knowledge and venture into uncharted territories. Who knows what we will see tomorrow!


Published by: Sky Headlines

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has enabled an international team of researchers to determine the temperature of TRAPPIST-1 b, a rocky exoplanet. The measurement of temperature relies on the planet’s emission of thermal energy. It is in the form of infrared light that the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) of the Webb telescope detected de. The team’s findings reveal that TRAPPIST-1 b has a dayside temperature of around 500 kelvins (roughly 450 degrees Fahrenheit). It suggests that it lacks a substantial atmosphere. This groundbreaking discovery represents the first detection of light emitted by an exoplanet as small and cool as those found in our solar system. An important milestone is determining the potential of planets orbiting small active stars. Like TRAPPIST-1, to maintain the necessary atmospheres to sustain life. Furthermore, this discovery highlights the potential of Webb’s MIRI to characterize temperate, Earth-sized exoplanets.

Astrophysicist Thomas Greene is the lead author of the study. At NASA’s Ames Research Center, he says, “These observations take advantage of Webb’s mid-infrared capability,”. Moreover, he said: “No previous telescopes have had the sensitivity to measure such dim mid-infrared light.”

TRAPPIST-1 b's temperature
Credits: Illustration: NASA, ESA, CSA, J. Olmsted (STScI); Science: Thomas Greene (NASA Ames), Taylor Bell (BAERI), Elsa Ducrot (CEA), Pierre-Olivier Lagage (CEA)

Before we go further, let’s discuss,

Rocky Planets Orbiting Ultracool Red Dwarfs:

In early 2017,  astronomers reported the discovery of seven rocky planets orbiting an ultracool red dwarf star located 40 light-years from Earth. These planets are noteworthy because their size and mass are similar to our solar system’s inner, rocky planets. Even though they all orbit much closer to their star than any of our planets orbit the Sun, they receive comparable amounts of energy from their small star. Despite being outside the habitable zone of the TRAPPIST-1 system, TRAPPIST-1 b receives a significantly high amount of energy from its star. It is due to its close orbital distance. Observations of this planet can provide valuable insights into the other planets in the system and other ultracool red dwarf systems.

Elsa Ducrot, a co-author affiliated with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in France, was part of the team that conducted previous research on the TRAPPIST-1 system. Ducrot contributed to the discussion by stating: “It’s easier to characterize terrestrial planets around smaller, cooler stars. If we want to understand habitability around M stars, the TRAPPIST-1 system is a great laboratory. These are the best targets for looking at rocky planets’ atmospheres.”

Ok, we should know this as well;

Why and how did the research team measure the temperature of TRAPPIST-1 b?

Previous studies of TRAPPIST-1 b using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes failed to detect any indication of a puffy atmosphere. Still, they could not conclusively eliminate the possibility of a dense one. To reduce the uncertainty, measuring the planet’s temperature was deemed necessary. “This planet is tidally locked, with one side facing the star at all times and the other in permanent darkness,” explained Pierre-Olivier Lagage from CEA, one of the co-authors of the study. “If it has an atmosphere to circulate and redistribute the heat, the dayside will be cooler than if there is no atmosphere.” The research team employed the technique of secondary eclipse photometry, using MIRI to measure the variation in brightness from the system as the planet moved behind the star.

While TRAPPIST-1 b does not emit visible light, it does radiate an infrared glow. By subtracting the star’s brightness during the secondary eclipse from the combined brightness of the star and planet, the team was able to accurately determine the amount of infrared light that the planet produced.

temperature of TRAPPIST-1 b
Credits: Illustration: NASA, ESA, CSA, J. Olmsted (STScI); Science: Thomas Greene (NASA Ames), Taylor Bell (BAERI), Elsa Ducrot (CEA), Pierre-Olivier Lagage (CEA)

Now, let’s find out;

What is the significance of detecting a secondary eclipse using the Webb telescope?

Detecting a secondary eclipse using Webb is a significant achievement. Given that the star’s brightness is over 1,000 times greater than the planet’s, resulting in a change in brightness that is less than 0.1%.

Taylor Bell analyzed the data.  He is a post-doctoral researcher at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. He clarified: “There was also some fear that we’d miss the eclipse. The planets all tug on each other, so the orbits are not perfect”. Moreover, he says: “But it was just amazing: The time of the eclipse that we saw in the data matched the predicted time within a couple of minutes.”

This study was carried out as a component of the Webb Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) program 1177, one of the eight programs aimed at thoroughly characterizing the TRAPPIST-1 system during Webb’s first year of operation. Additional observations of TRAPPIST-1 b during secondary eclipses are underway. Now that the team has gained insights into the quality of data that can be obtained. They aim to capture a complete phase curve showing the variation in brightness throughout the planet’s orbit. Observing the temperature changes from day to night will enable them to verify whether the planet has an atmosphere.

Lagag, worked on developing the MIRI instrument for more than two decades. He says: “There was one target that I dreamed of having,” Moreover, he said: “And I dreamed of this. This is the first time we can detect the emission from a rocky, temperate planet. It’s a significant step in the story of discovering exoplanets.”


Published by: Sky Headlines

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has detected silicate cloud features in the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet called VHS 1256 b, which is located about 40 light-years away from us. VHS 1256 b is a planetary-mass object that orbits not one but two stars over 10,000 years. The atmosphere of this exoplanet is very dynamic, constantly mixing and moving during its 22-hour day. This makes it the most variable planet-size object ever discovered.

The research team, led by Brittany Miles of the University of Arizona, used data from JWST. This data help them to identify water, methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere. This is the largest number of molecules ever discovered at once on an extrasolar planet. They also detected both larger and smaller silicate dust grains in the planet’s atmosphere. These findings provide insights into the planet’s weather and atmospheric dynamics.

Exoplanet (VHS 1256 b)
Credits: Illustration: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

But first, find out

What is VHS 1256 b?

VHS 1256 b is an exoplanet located about 40 light-years away from Earth. This planet orbits two stars and is one of the most variable planetary-mass objects ever observed. Its atmosphere is constantly changing, and it has swirling, gritty silicate clouds that are so surprising that they create significant brightness changes. Using the JSWT, researchers were able to detect a range of molecules in VHS 1256 b’s atmosphere. Molecules include water, methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

Professor A Biller of the University of Edinburgh says: There’s a huge return on a very modest amount of telescope time,” She added. “With only a few hours of observations, we have what feels like the unending potential for additional discoveries.”

Compared to other brown dwarfs with greater mass, VHS 1256 b exhibits lower gravity, allowing its silicate clouds to persist at higher altitudes where they can be observed. Moreover, the planet is relatively youthful, originating 150 million years ago. Over billions of years, it will continue to alter and cool. Exoplanet has already revealed many amazing facts about their atmosphere and environment. Scientists are still analyzing the data gathered by the James Webb Space Telescope.

A researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Beth Biller says: “The finer silicate grains in its atmosphere may be more like tiny particles in smoke”. Moreover, she said: “The larger grains might be more like very hot, very small sand particles.”

Exoplanet Atmosphere
Credits: Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, J. Olmsted (STScI); Science: Brittany Miles (University of Arizona), Sasha Hinkley (University of Exeter), Beth Biller (University of Edinburgh), Andrew Skemer (University of California, Santa Cruz

Now, the question here is

How has JSWT observed this exoplanet?

The researchers used two instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope. One of which is called the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). The second one is the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), to gather data known as spectra. Because VHS 1256 b orbits at a great distance from its two stars, the researchers were able to observe the planet directly without having to use a technique called a transit, which involves observing the dip in brightness of a star when a planet passes in front of it, or a coronagraph, which blocks the light of the star to reveal fainter objects nearby. This direct observation allowed for a more detailed analysis of the exoplanet’s atmosphere and the molecules presents within it.

Now come to the point,

What is the significance of this observation?

The observation of VHS 1256 b has provided scientists with a wealth of data about the planet’s atmosphere. Particularly about the composition and behavior of its clouds. This is significant because the study of exoplanet atmospheres is a key area of research in understanding the origins of our solar system and the possibility of life beyond it. Observing VHS 1256 b has allowed researchers to identify multiple features in the planet’s atmosphere simultaneously. This data will serve as a valuable resource for future modeling efforts.  Moreover, it will help scientists better understand the atmospheric conditions on exoplanets.

A research team led by Brittany Miles of the University of Arizona says: “We’ve identified silicates, but better understanding which grain sizes and shapes match specific types of clouds is going to take a lot of additional work,” He added: “This is not the final word on this planet – it is the beginning of a large-scale modeling effort to fit Webb’s complex data.”

The findings have opened up new avenues for research and highlighted the power of the James Webb Space Telescope in exploring the mysteries of the universe. Andrew Skemer, an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz says: “No other telescope has identified so many features at once for a single target,” Moreover, he explains: “We’re seeing a lot of molecules in a single spectrum from Webb that detail the planet’s dynamic cloud and weather systems.”


Published by: Sky Headlines

On February 28, 2023, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission tweeted about its latest observation of a galaxy, which included three separate photos. The JWST’s capacity to capture such breathtaking imagery continuously amazes and captivates both scientists and space enthusiasts.

JWST captures Supernova in Gravitational Lens
Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P. Kelly

How does the JWST take three photographs of the same object at the same time?

This is done through gravitational lensing, when a large celestial body bends or twists light.  This happens most often around stars like our Sun, but it can also occur around extremely distant, enormous galaxies. The gravitational lens of RX J2129 bends and splits light from a supernova-hosting galaxy into three pictures.

As a result of the galaxy cluster RX J2129 distorting and bending its light, a supernova-containing galaxy appears in three distinct images. About 3,2 billion light-years from Earth is where you’ll find this cluster of galaxies. Because light had to travel different distances to generate each image, astronomers have determined that the images all seem different because of their different ages and characteristics.

Type IA supernova!

Astronomers say that the earliest photograph of the potential supernova, AT 2002riv is a Type IA supernova. Two similar lines on either side of it provide supporting evidence for this claim. When we took another picture of the faraway galaxy 320 and 1000 days later, we found that the supernova was no longer visible. The brightness of type IA supernovae is useful for determining huge cosmic distances.

The European Space Agency explains: “The almost uniform luminosity of a Type IA supernova could also allow astronomers to understand how strongly the galaxy cluster RX J2129 is magnifying background objects, and therefore how massive the galaxy cluster is,” It continues: “As well as distorting the images of background objects, gravitational lenses can cause distant objects to appear much brighter than they would otherwise. If the gravitational lens magnifies something with a known brightness, such as a Type IA supernova, then astronomers can use this to measure the ‘prescription’ of the gravitational lens.”

Gravitational Lens
Credit: NASA, ESA & L. Calcada

Gravitational lensing!

Gravitational lensing is when a massive celestial body’s gravitational force causes distant object’s light to appear bent or distorted from a specific angle. This creates a cosmic lens that enables astronomers to see objects located behind the massive object. As it passed through RX J2129. the light from a galaxy with a supernova bent and split into three images.

In 1979, gravitational lensing split light from a distant object, proving Einstein’s general relativity theory. Gravitational microlensing finds exoplanets, while this effect studies supernovae. In 1979, the JWST captured two quasars that had been gravitationally lensed.  JWST’s gravitational lensing will reveal how many supernovae and other insights it finds. This justifies the persistence of scientific investigation.


Published by: Sky Headlines

The great James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured the imagination of the scientific community and space enthusiasts alike. As the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built, It will change our understanding of the universe. Here are some amazing James Webb Telescope Facts that you need to know:

Fact 1: The JWST is the largest space telescope ever built

The JWST is massive, weighing in at 6.5 tons, and is about the size of a tennis court when fully deployed. The size of this great telescope is about 22 meters by 12 meters. According to NASA, Its primary mirror has a diameter of 6.5 meters (21 feet 4 inches) across, which is more than twice the size of the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror.

Fact 2: It is an infrared telescope

Unlike Hubble, which primarily observes visible and ultraviolet light, the JWST is an infrared telescope. This means it can see through dust and gas clouds to reveal objects. The objects that are hidden from view at visible wavelengths. For example the earliest galaxies in the universe and the formation of stars and planets.

Fact 3: The JWST has a unique orbit

The JWST orbits around the L2 point, which is a gravitationally stable location in space located 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. This orbit allows the telescope to remain in a fixed position relative to Earth as it observes the universe, and provides a stable environment for its sensitive instruments.

Fact 4: It took over 20 years to develop and launch

The idea for the JWST was first proposed in the mid-1990s. Around 30 years ago, STScI Director Riccardo Giacconi urged the team to “think about the next major mission beyond Hubble.” Before the launch of Hubble, an STScI workshop developed a mission design in September 1989. The project has gone through numerous design iterations and funding challenges since then. The telescope finally launches on December 25, 2021, from ESA’s launch site at Kourou in French Guiana.

Fact 5: The goal of JSWT – Study the earliest galaxies and stars

One of the major James Webb Telescope facts is that it is the leading scientific goal of the JWST is to study the earliest galaxies that formed in the universe, shortly after the Big Bang. By observing these galaxies, scientists hope to gain insights into how the universe evolved over time. The telescope studies star and planet formation and searches for life on other worlds.

Fact 6: The lifespan of JSWT is at least 10 years

The JWST is designed to operate for at least 10 years, but it is expected to continue operating for much longer. Its instruments and systems have been designed to withstand the harsh conditions of space, and its unique orbit will help to ensure its longevity.

Fact 7: The JWST is a collaborative effort

The JWST is a collaborative effort between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The project has involved over 300 universities, organizations, and companies across 29 U.S. states and 14 countries.

Fact 8: The JWST will work with the Hubble Space Telescope

Although the JWST is much more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, the two telescopes will collaborate to explore the universe. The Hubble will continue to observe visible and ultraviolet light, while the JWST will focus on infrared light.

Fact 9: The JWST has already produced stunning images

Within a few months, the JWST started producing some stunning images of the universe. These images include a detailed look at the “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula, and a spectacular view of the galaxy cluster Abell 2744.

JWST discovered the most distant galaxies in mid-December. The telescope proved its ability to observe the early universe with this milestone. The telescope discovered four 13.4 billion-year-old galaxies, which existed when the universe was 350 million years old. JWST’s Near Infrared Spectrograph found these galaxies (JADES).

Final Words!

The James Webb Space Telescope is a remarkable achievement of human invention and technological prowess. With its advanced capabilities, it promises to transform our understanding of the universe and help us answer some of the most fundamental questions about our place in the cosmos. The JWST continues to gather data and produce stunning images. As a result, it is sure to capture the imagination of people around the world.

Published by: Sky Headlines

The JSWT is part of the Early Release Science program. And Webb’s conducted one of initial scientific observations by gazing at Messier 92 (M92). M92 is a globular cluster in the Milky Way halo, Which is approximately 27,000 light-years away. This occurred on June 20, 2022, and lasted for slightly over an hour. There are 13 ERS programs that assist astronomers in comprehending how to utilize Webb and leverage its scientific capabilities.

Matteo Correnti is from the Italian Space Agency. Alessandro Savino is from the University of California, Berkeley. Roger Cohen is from Rutgers University. Andy Dolphin is from Raytheon Technologies. They were interviewed to gather insights into Webb’s observations of M92. The team is utilizing the data to assist other astronomers. Kristen McQuinn had previously discussed her research on the dwarf galaxy WLM. The dwarf galaxy WLM is also included in this initiative. This conversation happened last November.

What is the purpose of ERS program?

Alessandro Savino:

The emphasis of this program is on studying resolved stellar populations. These are massive collections of stars such as M92 that are located near us, making it possible for Webb to isolate each star within the system. From a scientific perspective, these observations are highly captivating as they offer insights into the physics of stars and galaxies that can be gathered from entities situated much further away. It is through our study of our local cosmic environment that we gain much of our understanding of these distant objects.

Matteo Correnti:

We are also working towards enhancing our understanding of the telescope. This initiative has played a crucial role in refining the calibration process to ensure the highest level of measurement accuracy, which will benefit other astronomers and comparable projects by improving the quality of the data obtained.

Why did you decide to look at M92 in particular?


M92 and other globular clusters hold great significance in comprehending the process of stellar evolution. For many years, they have been serving as a vital standard for comprehending the workings and development of stars. M92, a prime example of a globular cluster, is near us and is well-understood, making it a crucial reference point in studies of stellar systems and their evolution.


M92 holds significant importance due to its status as one of the Milky Way’s oldest globular clusters, potentially even being the oldest. With an estimated age of 12 to 13 billion years, M92 hosts some of the most ancient stars that can be observed and analyzed. These nearby clusters serve as valuable indicators of the early universe, aiding in our understanding of its origins.

Roger Cohen:

One of the reasons why we selected M92 is due to its high density, where numerous stars are tightly packed together. The core of the cluster is thousands of times denser compared to the region surrounding the Sun. Studying M92 will enable us to evaluate the performance of Webb in this specific regime, where we need to measure stars that are in very close proximity to each other.

Characteristics of a globular – studying stars’ evolution!

Andy Dolphin:

A key feature of M92 is that the majority of its stars likely originated from a single period of formation and with similar elemental compositions, yet they exhibit a diverse range of masses. This provides an excellent opportunity to study this specific cohort of stars in depth.


Furthermore, as all the stars are part of the same entity, namely the globular cluster M92, it is evident that they are all at approximately the same distance from us. This fact is quite useful because it implies that any variations in brightness amongst the stars are most likely due to inherent characteristics, rather than just being influenced by their respective distances. Consequently, it simplifies the process of comparing the stars with models to a significant extent.

Hubble Space Telescope Vs Webb!


Webb and Hubble Telescope differ significantly in terms of their wavelength range. Webb is capable of operating at longer wavelengths, where the majority of light emission comes from cool, low-mass stars. This makes Webb particularly applicable for observing such stars. Webb is capable of detecting stars with masses less than 0.1 times that of the Sun, which is intriguing because this is close to the point where stars cease to exist as stars. Beyond this boundary lies brown dwarfs, which are too low-mass to generate hydrogen ignition in their cores.


In comparison to Hubble Webb offers a significant increase in speed. To observe the extremely faint low-mass stars using Hubble,

It needs hundreds of hours of telescope time, whereas, with Webb, it only takes a few hours.


The purpose of these observations was not to test the full capabilities of the telescope, yet it is reassuring to find that we were able to detect dim and tiny stars without exerting excessive effort.

Facts about the low-mass stars!


To begin with, they constitute the largest population of stars in the entire universe. Secondly, they hold significant theoretical interest due to the challenges in observing and characterizing them, particularly those with a mass of less than half that of the Sun, where our comprehension of stellar models remains somewhat uncertain.


By examining the light that low-mass stars emit, we can enhance our ability to determine the age of the globular cluster. This knowledge, in turn, can provide us with a deeper understanding of the formation of various components of the Milky Way, such as the halo where M92 is situated. These insights into cosmic history can have far-reaching implications.

The Chip gap:

JWST Discovers Sparkling Globular Cluster with Separate Stars
Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, A. Pagan (STScI).

The utilization of Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) helps in the creation of this image. NIRCam consists of two modules and the “chip gap” separates it. The central area of the cluster is both densely populated and exceptionally luminous, which restricted the applicability of the data gathered from that zone. However, the positioning of these images aligns well with the Hubble data that is already accessible.


Published by: Sky Headlines


At infrared wavelengths, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is revealing star formation, and networks of gas and dust in nearby galaxies. An initial collection of 21 research publications has shed light on how the universe’s simplest processes, such as star formation, affect the history of its largest objects, galaxies.

PHANGS collaboration:

In Webb’s first year of science operations, the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies (PHANGS) collaboration is conducting the largest nearby galaxy survey. Janice Lee, Gemini Observatory chief scientist at the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab and affiliate astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson, leads Webb observations.

Five of the team’s 19 spiral galaxies—M74, NGC 7496, IC 5332, NGC 1365, and NGC 1433—have been observed in Webb’s first few months of science operations. The results amaze astronomers.

David Thilker is a Professor at Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University. He says: “The clarity with which we are seeing the fine structure certainly caught us by surprise,”

Erik Rosolowsky is a Canadian student at the University of Alberta. He says that he was part of the team. Moreover, he explains: “We are directly seeing how the energy from the formation of young stars affects the gas around them, and it’s just remarkable,”

Webb reveals intricate networks of gas and dust in galaxies
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and J. Lee (NOIRLab). Image processing: A. Pagan (STScI)

Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) photos show brilliant cavities of dust and large gas bubbles that line the spiral arms. However, This web of characteristics appears to be discrete and overlapping shells and bubbles where young stars release energy in some nearby galaxies.

Karin Sandstrom is also a squad member at Columbia university San Diego. She says: “Areas which are completely dark in Hubble imaging light up in exquisite detail in these new infrared images, allowing us to study how the dust in the interstellar medium has absorbed the light from forming stars and emitted it back out in the infrared, illuminating intricate networks of gas and dust,”

The Evolution:

For a long time, astronomers lacked the high-resolution images necessary to examine these formations, but Webb has changed all that.

Adam Leroy is a member of the PHANGS team. He explained that the team has conducted years of observations of galaxies at optical, radio, and ultraviolet wavelengths. The observation is get using various telescopes. This telescope includes NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array. Moreover, the Very Large Telescope’s Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer is also very significant in the observation.

Despite these extensive observations, the earliest stages of a star’s lifecycle have remained out of view, as they occur within dense clouds of gas and dust that shroud the process from view. These networks of gas and dust are also known as molecular clouds. They are clouds where stars are born. Moreover, the complex processes that lead to the formation of new stars take place in this region. Studying these molecular clouds in more detail is very significant for the PHANGS team. As they hope to shed light on the earliest stages of star formation. This will help them gain a better understanding of how stars are born and evolve.

With its tremendous infrared capabilities, Webb can see past the obscuring dust and piece it together.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons play also an essential role in star and planet formation. Besides, Their emission can be detected at specific wavelengths. These emissions can be observed by MIRI (7.7 and 11.3 microns) and Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (3.3 microns). With the initial PHANGS observations, Webb was able to spot these compounds.

Understanding the bigger picture of galaxy evolution through the study of these interactions at the smallest scale is possible.


Webb reveals intricate networks of gas and dust in galaxies
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and J. Lee (NOIRLab). Image processing: A. Pagan (STScI)

Leader of the PHANGS team:

Eva Schinnerer is a leader of the PHANGS team. Moreover, he is an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He explained about the networks of gas and dust: “Because these observations are taken as part of what’s called a treasury program, they are available to the public as they are observed and received on Earth,”

In order to assist in the process of discovery, the PHANGS team will work to compile and share data sets that align Webb’s data to each of the complementary data sets gathered previously from the other observatories.

In a statement, Lee expressed his gratitude for the high resolution of the telescope. The telescope allows conducting of a comprehensive census of star formation in nearby galaxies beyond the Local Group. Moreover, Lee suggests that this census will provide insight into how star formation and its feedback impact the interstellar medium. This could either lead to the formation of the next generation of stars or impede their formation. Furthermore, The inventories of interstellar medium bubble structures will help in understanding the complex interplay between star formation and the surrounding environment. This will provide important insights into the formation and evolution of galaxies.

PHANGS study is part of the General Observer program 2107. The Astrophysical Journal Letters released the team’s early findings from 21 research in a special emphasis issue.


Published by: Sky Headlines

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has released its latest deep field image, which shows previously unseen details in a region of space known as Pandora’s Cluster (Abell 2744). Three huge galaxies join to form a giant cluster, according to Webb. Due to the cluster’s gravitational lens, scientists can identify even more distant galaxies from the early universe by using it as a magnifying glass.

Previous NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope research only focused on Pandora’s center core. With the powerful infrared instruments aboard Webb and a wide mosaic view of the region’s many sites of lensing, astronomers hoped to strike a balance between breadth and depth that would lead to new insights into the nature of the universe and the development of galaxies.

Rachel Bezanson is an astronomer at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Moreover, he is the co-principal investigator on the “UNCOVER” (Ultradeep NIRSpec and NIRCam ObserVations before the Epoch of Reionization) program to study the region. “The ancient myth of Pandora is about human curiosity and discoveries that delineate the past from the future, which I think is a fitting connection to the new realms of the universe Webb is opening up, including this deep-field image of Pandora’s Cluster,”

Combining JSWT images!

The recently discovered view of Pandora’s Cluster is a panorama of four Webb photographs, displaying over 50,000 sources of near-infrared light. “When the images of Pandora’s Cluster first came in from Webb, we were honestly a little star-struck,”. Bezanson says. “There was so much detail in the foreground cluster and so many distant lensed galaxies, I found myself getting lost in the image. Webb exceeded our expectations.”

In addition to magnification, gravitational lensing distorts distant galaxies, making them look significantly different from those in the foreground. The galaxy cluster “lens” is so large that it warps space, causing light from distant galaxies to look twisted.

Explanation – Ivo Labbe!

Astronomer Ivo Labbe of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, co-principal investigator on the UNCOVER program. He says that in the lensing core to the lower right in the Webb image, Hubble has never imaged. Webb revealed hundreds of distant lensed galaxies that appear as faint arced lines. As you zoom in, more appear.

In another statement, Labbe expresses excitement about the new image of Pandora’s Cluster captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, a new and powerful tool for studying the universe. The image is better than ever, according to Labbe.

Labbe also emphasizes the beauty of the image, stating that it looks like a simulation of galaxy formation. However, Labbe reminds us that this is not a simulation but real data and that the image represents a new era of astronomy where we can observe and study the universe in unprecedented detail.

Webb’s Imaging!

The UNCOVER team observed Pandora’s cluster for around 30 hours, using exposures of 4-6 hours with Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam). The next step is to carefully examine the imaging data. And to choose galaxies for further observation with the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). This will yield accurate distance measurements and additional information about the lensed galaxies’ compositions. Thus shedding light on the formative stages of galaxy formation and evolution. According to the UNCOVER group, these NIRSpec observations will take place in the summer of 2023.

NIRCam photometric data of Pandora’s Cluster is also available. This helps other astronomers can become familiar with it and plan their scientific studies with Webb’s rich datasets. “We are committed to helping the astronomy community make the best use of the fantastic resource we have in Webb,” said UNCOVER co-investigator Gabriel Brammer of the Niels Bohr Institute’s Cosmic Dawn Center at the University of Copenhagen. “This is just the beginning of all the amazing Webb science to come.”

Webb has enormous datasets and NIRCam photometric data. This can be very helpful for astronomers to create research programs. Gabriel Brammer is the co-investigator of the UNCOVER and the Cosmic Dawn Center at the University of Copenhagen. He said remarked: “We are committed to assisting the astronomy community in making the best use of the amazing resource we have in Webb.” The incredible Webb science to come will only begin with this, so to speak.

Webb data from three early observation programs. Named JWST-GO-2561, JWST-DD-ERS-1324, and JWST-DD-2756. This was used to create the UNCOVER team’s photo mosaics and source library for Pandora’s Cluster (Abell 2744).

Published by: Sky Headlines