This is the best shot of the James Webb Space Telescope

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Since its takeoff on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope has never ceased to dazzle the scientific world with the quality of its images. Specialized in the detection of infrared, wavelengths invisible to the naked eye, James Webb has a main mirror of 6.5 meters.

To give an idea, the mirror of the Hubble space telescope measures “only” 2.4 meters in diameter. Thanks to this gold-plated hexagon, James Webb manages to take shots that are each more beautiful than the next. From the revelation of the first images of the telescope, NASA was the first surprise of the power of the device.

The “Pillars of Creation” the most beautiful part of the Universe

Recently, the American space agency decided to turn it towards a well-known area of ​​our sky, the Eagle Nebula. In 1995 this cluster had already been observed by the Hubble telescope, giving the cliché that we all know of the “pillars of creation”.

Beyond their apparent beauty, these mountains of gas and dust are a very interesting area of ​​the Universe. It is indeed a “star nursery”. In this little corner of our sky, matter is condensed under the effect of gravity. Dust and gas converge at one point. Once the density is high enough, the matter turns into a star.

Nearly 30 years after the first snapshot of the “pillars of creation”, NASA has therefore decided to aim a new objective at this area of ​​the sky, 7000 light years away from Earth. Thanks to James Webb’s infrared capabilities, the agency was able to go even further in its analysis of the area by “piercing” the gas pockets.

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On the left the snapshot of Hubble in 1995 and on the right that of James Webb in 2022 © NASA, ESA, CSA

A much more detailed picture

It is thus possible to see stars at the heart of these “pillars”, which was not the case with the Hubble photo of 1995. The arrival of this image also makes it possible to realize the colossal advances of the NASA in observing the Universe over the past two decades.

Taking “comparative” photos in this way allows you to take the measure of the evolution of the devices. An advance in the precision of the shots which should allow scientists to do the same. Just as Hubble made it possible in the 1990s to take a huge step forward in the observation and understanding of our Universe, scientists around the world hope that James Webb will make it possible to do the same.

Is James Webb able to find extraterrestrial life

The main mission of the telescope remains the observation of exoplanets. Thanks to the high precision of its sensors, the telescope is able to perform spectrometry on the atmosphere of certain planets outside our solar system. This brand new discipline could make it possible to know the composition of these atmospheres and perhaps to find indirect traces of life on these “twin sisters” of the Earth.

Several exoplanets are very serious candidates and James Webb should quickly point his gigantic mirror in their direction.

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