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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures interstellar images with unprecedented clarity

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared array camera has achieved great feats for the US space agency. The retired observatory has captured several spectacular images from space until recently. It was the first of its kind to provide high-resolution images of the near- and mid-infrared Universe. And now we are happy that it has got a worthy successor. We are referring to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. One of the four instruments attached to this telescope has provided an image of part of the sky previously taken by Spitzer. And guess what? The latest image is much sharper than the stock image.

The image is shown at 7.7 microns. It shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. This part of the sky contains a dense starfield perfect for testing Webb’s performance.

NASA published a blog about the comparative study of the two images taken by two different NASA devices. The sharpener captured the old image at 0.8 microns, making it a key factor in causing the difference in quality between the two photos.

The James Webb Space Telescope has four scientific instruments. Its significantly larger primary mirror and improved detectors allow scientists to see the infrared sky more clearly. This helps them make more discoveries.

This particular image was captured by Webb’s “coldest instrument” as part of a test. We are talking about the Mid-Infrared Instrument or MIRI. In the image captured by MIRI, the interstellar gas can be seen in a detail never seen before. According to the website, “Here you can see emission from ‘polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,’ or carbon and hydrogen molecules, which play important roles in the thermal equilibrium and chemistry of interstellar gas.”

These test images with MIRI help scientists determine that the Webb telescope can further improve space exploration. MIRI can detect the birth of new stars and protoplanetary systems to aid in these studies.

This image is part of a test being conducted by the Webb team. The goal is to set up and test all of Webb’s instruments in order to start observing this summer.

https://gadgets360.com/science/news/nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-interstellar-image-sharper-spitzer-2962108 NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures interstellar images with unprecedented clarity

Ryan Sederquist

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