On July 11th and 12th, 2022, humanity stepped into the future.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) released its first scientific images, revealing the Universe in an unprecedented light.
The first image was a deep-field view of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, whose gravity magnifies background objects.
Containing objects from throughout cosmic history, it previews even deeper, wider-field views ahead.
But three other targets were also observed with imagers, revealing unexpected, never-before-seen galaxies as well.
The Carina Nebula, located within the Milky Way, is a dusty region rich in gas and stars.
But numerous galaxies appear through the obscuring matter.
Even in this dense region of our galaxy, the Universe beyond can be glimpsed.
The Southern Ring Nebula, a dying, Sun-like star within our own galaxy, also reveals background sources.
Some galaxies poke through the nebula’s wispy tendrils.
Others richly occupy the space along its outskirts.
In all directions and locations, there’s something spectacular to expose.
But JWST’s Stephan’s Quintet image was the most illuminating.
Galaxies of all colors,
and clustering patterns,
can be seen everywhere.
We’ve long said, “One astronomer’s noise is another astronomer’s data.”
For scientists studying galaxies, every forthcoming JWST image contains a potential treasure trove.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.