In both visible light and infrared, we get a preview of the spectacular advances that await the James Webb Space Telescope.
What astronomers see isn’t just determined by the telescope you view the Universe with.
Views are wavelength-dependent, with ultraviolet, visible, and infrared each revealing their own unique details.
NASA’s Hubble, by imaging the same objects in different wavelengths, showcases dramatically different views.
The Carina Nebula, in visible light, shows off gas and dust surrounds star-forming regions.
In the infrared, the gas is transparent, revealing the violence of newborn stars.
The Horsehead Nebula appears as light-blocking dust silhouetted against an illuminated backdrop.
But in infrared light, the dust’s glows brightly, radiating copiously in these longer wavelengths.
Star-forming region NGC 2174 showcases evaporating gas shrouding the interior processes.
But the infrared reveals jets, stars, gas details, and even distant background galaxies.
In the Large Magellanic Cloud, 30 Doradus is the Local Group’s largest star-forming region.
With infrared eyes, thousands of redder stars are brightly revealed, while small dust particles are rendered invisible.
Finally, the Pillars of Creation might be the most iconic image of all.
In the infrared, the newly created stars inside the pillars finally show themselves.
With James Webb Space Telescope’s 2021 launch upcoming, our infrared views will surpass anything known today.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.Ethan Siegel is the author of Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology. You can pre-order his third book, currently in development: the Encyclopaedia Cosmologica.