It’s been a big week for outer space. First, NASA released a single image giving us the clearest image of deep space in its history. Now, they’ll unveiled photos from the Webb Space Telescope. The Webb telescope will replace the Hubble telescope as NASA’s main view of deep space.
The telescope enabled scientists to examine a galaxy a massive 13.1 billion light-years away. Scientists found common chemicals such as oxygen, hydrogen and neon in the galaxy. NASA also used the telescope to examine WASP-96 b, an exoplanet 1,150 light-years away. It found water on the exoplanet, albeit scientists think the planet is too hot for it to contain liquid water.
“This proximity provides astronomers a ringside seat for witnessing the merging and interactions between galaxies that are so crucial to all of galaxy evolution. Rarely do scientists see in so much detail how interacting galaxies trigger star formation in each other, and how the gas in these galaxies is being disturbed. Stephan’s Quintet is a fantastic ‘laboratory’ for studying these processes fundamental to all galaxies,” NASA said in a statement.
When NASA released the telescope’s first image on Monday (July 11), President Joe Biden was there to help. The image depicted galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. According to NASA, the image showed thousands of galaxies and how they looked 4.6 billion years ago, due to the speed of light.
“These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things, and remind the American people – especially our children – that there’s nothing beyond our capacity,” Biden said. “We can see possibilities no one has ever seen before. We can go places no one has ever gone before.”