Take Your Mind Off Everything Going On: Webb Space Telescope Images Released

 

This morning, NASA released the first far-infrared images from the new Webb Space Telescope, which is in orbit around the Sun, a million miles from Earth.

Now, can you look at this image of a tiny portion of space and not be in awe of our Universe and the perseverance of the NASA scientists and engineering technicians? They had the help of Canadian and European space agencies and, despite all the cost overruns and extra time, I think they deserve a huge round of applause.

The information gathered by the Webb will keep generations of astronomers and scientists busy with analysis, learning more and more about our universe. The NASA website has extensive photos and commentary about what they show.  The images are easy to export, and I have done a post on my personal blog at RushBabe49.com. Congrats to NASA, ESA, and CSA!

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  1. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    As flawed as humans are, we can still do amazing things…

    • #1
  2. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    The universe is God’s business card. Look at all those galaxies! The size of just one of them is amazing. I have seen two in my eyepiece and thought that was amazing. People have believed in God for at least 7,000 years without seeing something this amazing.

    There is another amazing thing about Webb. It is a time machine looking back into time almost to the birth of the universe. Andromeda is visible to the naked eye. It is only 2.2 million light years away. A telescope gathers enough light to where you can see that it is a galaxy. These objects are so far away that it boggles the mind to see how for back in time we are looking.

    • #2
  3. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    I worked with a lot of the engineers who developed the JWST (in 2002 I was invited to become the lead Thermal engineer on the project). I declined thinking that the 2007 launch date was wildly optimistic given the technical challenges of unfolding a structure that large, with some of the instrument detectors that have to operate a few fractions of a degree above zero Kelvin, while the rest of the instruments operate a ~30K. All while sending it to L2 where it could not be repaired if necessary.

    A large group of the folks working this project will have spent more than 1/2 of their professional career spans on a single project. If it failed after that level of commitment was more than I was willing to bargain for the balance of my efforts at NASA.

    As it was I hung in a few extra years (I retired with 41 year working for the agency). I finishing up developing several of NOAA’s sun synchronous spacecraft including the newest one sitting in Gilbert AZ, for their low earth sensor platform (called JPSS), and I still retired this December only a week after JWST launched.

    • #3
  4. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    • #4
  5. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    I talked about this in church. When people tell me there is a conflict between science and religion, I pull up a handy quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

     

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I talked about this in church. When people tell me there is a conflict between science and religion, I pull up a handy quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

     

    Excellent quote.

    • #6
  7. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I talked about this in church. When people tell me there is a conflict between science and religion, I pull up a handy quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

     

    I love this. I have many opportunities to use it and I have never seen anything that says it better. Is it ok to use it and attribute it to you? Of course, it could mean lots of wiki and google hits when people want to know who the wise philosopher Douglass Pratt is!

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I wonder if the red objects are the farthest away.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I wonder what, if anything, the astronomers expect to discover that will be of the slightest use.  This seems unlikely to me.

    I do have a positive response to a pretty picture of the heavens, which do declare the glory of God, after all.  But I already have sufficient pictures to make the point.

    How much did this cost?

    • #9
  10. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I talked about this in church. When people tell me there is a conflict between science and religion, I pull up a handy quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

     

    I love this. I have many opportunities to use it and I have never seen anything that says it better. Is it ok to use it and attribute it to you? Of course, it could mean lots of wiki and google hits when people want to know who the wise philosopher Douglass Pratt is!

    It’s not my quote, it’s MLK. I don’t mind bringing it to peoples’ attention of course. And if they want to search for me on Audible, that would make me happy.

    • #10
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I wonder what, if anything, the astronomers expect to discover that will be of the slightest use. This seems unlikely to me.

    I do have a positive response to a pretty picture of the heavens, which do declare the glory of God, after all. But I already have sufficient pictures to make the point.

    How much did this cost?

    Use?

    We don’t build telescopes because they’re useful, or to solve a problem. We build them because we want to know. That’s what separates us from the animals.

    This reminds me of the story of Ben Franklin in Paris, when he saw a Montgolfier balloon ascension and was talking about it afterward. One of his fellows said, “Yes, but of what use is it?” Franklin replied, “Of what use is a newborn baby?”

    • #11
  12. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I wonder what, if anything, the astronomers expect to discover that will be of the slightest use. This seems unlikely to me.

    I do have a positive response to a pretty picture of the heavens, which do declare the glory of God, after all. But I already have sufficient pictures to make the point.

    How much did this cost?

    To quote Carl Sagan, Billions and billions…

    EDIT; Approximate cost is a little over 10 billion (FY 2020 dollars) over the 20 years so far. So with 330 million citizens, over 20 years, your share was ~1.50 per year.

    Are you not entertained?

    • #12
  13. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I talked about this in church. When people tell me there is a conflict between science and religion, I pull up a handy quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:

    Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

     

    I love this. I have many opportunities to use it and I have never seen anything that says it better. Is it ok to use it and attribute it to you? Of course, it could mean lots of wiki and google hits when people want to know who the wise philosopher Douglass Pratt is!

    It’s not my quote, it’s MLK. I don’t mind bringing it to peoples’ attention of course. And if they want to search for me on Audible, that would make me happy.

    I see that, now. I zoomed in on the quote and missed that.

    • #13
  14. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I have probably recommended this site : https://behindtheblack.com/ before.  He tracks various NASA and commercial space projects and has lots of interesting pictures.  (He is also pretty conservative and tracks the current “woke” institutions and blacklist victims.

    One comment he had on the picture in the OP was that it represented a slice of the universe about the same visual size as a grain of rice held at arms length.

     

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Our Universe is amazing and beautiful.  God made it, and our American scientists and engineers have, at great cost (but in the grand scheme of things, a rounding error in the federal budget), built a way to show us its transcendent beauty.  And a way to search the universe in time and place, for the origins of everything in it.  Scientists the world over will be using our telescope to increase our knowledge of the universe, and no wet-blankets can make me see it any other way.

    • #15
  16. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Our Universe is amazing and beautiful. God made it, and our American scientists and engineers have, at great cost (but in the grand scheme of things, a rounding error in the federal budget), built a way to show us its transcendent beauty. And a way to search the universe in time and place, for the origins of everything in it. Scientists the world over will be using our telescope to increase our knowledge of the universe, and no wet-blankets can make me see it any other way.

    It’s staggering. We designed and built a telescope so sensitive it focuses by flexing its mirrors in tiny increments and reflects light onto instruments that have to be cooled down nearly to absolute zero. Then we folded it into a package that makes origami look simple. We lobbed it millions of miles away and set it orbiting around a point that doesn’t even exist, the junction of two gravity fields. And we did it so precisely the fuel on-board will last five years longer than planned. Then we unfolded the damn thing, spooling out paper thin sunshades along booms that had to have just the right tension or the shades rip. We opened, cooled and calibrated the instruments. Now we are going to see more of this magnificent creation than anyone ever imagined. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys.

    • #16
  17. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Our Universe is amazing and beautiful. God made it, and our American scientists and engineers have, at great cost (but in the grand scheme of things, a rounding error in the federal budget), built a way to show us its transcendent beauty. And a way to search the universe in time and place, for the origins of everything in it. Scientists the world over will be using our telescope to increase our knowledge of the universe, and no wet-blankets can make me see it any other way.

    It’s staggering. We designed and built a telescope so sensitive it focuses by flexing its mirrors in tiny increments and reflects light onto instruments that have to be cooled down nearly to absolute zero. Then we folded it into a package that makes origami look simple. We lobbed it millions of miles away and set it orbiting around a point that doesn’t even exist, the junction of two gravity fields. And we did it so precisely the fuel on-board will last five years longer than planned. Then we unfolded the damn thing, spooling out paper thin sunshades along booms that had to have just the right tension or the shades rip. We opened, cooled and calibrated the instruments. Now we are going to see more of this magnificent creation than anyone ever imagined. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys.

    As I mention, I do know many of those guys. They re not so hair less ☺️, at least when they started working on JWST.

    • #17
  18. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Ma… (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    It’s staggering. We designed and built a telescope so sensitive it focuses by flexing its mirrors in tiny increments and reflects light onto instruments that have to be cooled down nearly to absolute zero. Then we folded it into a package that makes origami look simple. We lobbed it millions of miles away and set it orbiting around a point that doesn’t even exist, the junction of two gravity fields. And we did it so precisely the fuel on-board will last five years longer than planned. Then we unfolded the damn thing, spooling out paper thin sunshades along booms that had to have just the right tension or the shades rip. We opened, cooled and calibrated the instruments. Now we are going to see more of this magnificent creation than anyone ever imagined. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys.

    As I mention, I do know many of those guys. They re not so hair less ☺️, at least when they started working on JWST.

    NASA does seem to have relaxed some of the traditions about facial foliage. Still, I doubt if the diversity hiring goals include yeti… well, maybe at JPL.

    • #18
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I wonder what, if anything, the astronomers expect to discover that will be of the slightest use.  This seems unlikely to me.

    Do we benefit from having a greater understanding of physics than we had 100 years ago?  There are probably all sorts of technological things we enjoy on a regular basis that would not be possible if we hadn’t learned any more physics than we knew a century ago.  The James Webb telescope isn’t just about giving us pretty pictures.  The data we get from it over time ought to help us further refine our understanding of the rules of physics.  That knowledge won’t necessarily result in a faster can opener next Wednesday.  I have no idea what future products may eventually incorporate technology that is only possible thanks to lessons learned about physics, thanks to this telescope.  The practical payoff may not come for decades.

    • #19
  20. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    This telescope not only lets us see objects and observe phenomena that are farther away, it lets us see the past!  We should learn more and more about the history of the universe, not only the physics.  It is invaluable.  I wish I were a young astronomer today-just think of what they will be able to learn about.

    • #20
  21. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    This telescope not only lets us see objects and observe phenomena that are farther away, it lets us see the past! We should learn more and more about the history of the universe, not only the physics. It is invaluable. I wish I were a young astronomer today-just think of what they will be able to learn about.

    My understanding of the chosen size for the main mirror was to have enough resolving power to “see” back to the ~14.7 billion years to the time of the “Big Bang”. At least the point where matter cooled off enough to coalesce to become visible.

    You can get a feel for that extra resolving power when you compare the two deep field images at the “empty” sky between Hubble and JWST. If we want to learn more during those creation moments it will have to be in other spectrums than the infrared wavelengths that JWST is equipped to detect.

    • #21
  22. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I wonder what, if anything, the astronomers expect to discover that will be of the slightest use. This seems unlikely to me.

    I do have a positive response to a pretty picture of the heavens, which do declare the glory of God, after all. But I already have sufficient pictures to make the point.

    How much did this cost?

    A telescope looking at the stars is really a time machine. How many of those things we can see up there are still there? Or still where they were? The universe could have ended and we wouldn’t catch ‘wind’ of it for a few billion years.

    • #22
  23. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    @editors?  Why has this post not been promoted to the Main Feed?  This was a big win for America, Europe, and Canada, and there are zero downsides.  Not even the cost (a rounding error in the US budget) and time it took.  This is the best feel-good story in a long while, and it should be available to everyone.

    • #23
  24. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    xkcd comes through again: (I’m not sure I can post the image, but it is worth linking to)

     

    https://xkcd.com/2645

    • #24
  25. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    @ editors? Why has this post not been promoted to the Main Feed? This was a big win for America, Europe, and Canada, and there are zero downsides. Not even the cost (a rounding error in the US budget) and time it took. This is the best feel-good story in a long while, and it should be available to everyone.

    It was probably an oversight.  Jon put it on the Main Feed now.

    • #25
  26. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    And He saw that it was good. And oy, is it busy! 

    • #26
  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    @ editors? Why has this post not been promoted to the Main Feed? This was a big win for America, Europe, and Canada, and there are zero downsides. Not even the cost (a rounding error in the US budget) and time it took. This is the best feel-good story in a long while, and it should be available to everyone.

    It was probably an oversight. Jon put it on the Main Feed now.

    Or they save the good stuff for Sunday evening.

    • #27
  28. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    Somewhere there is a quote about this picture that was made by Carl Sagan. I just can’t remember what it was.

    • #28
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