James Webb Telescope Takes First Photo of Distant World

The theory of new worlds might have just been confirmed by the James Webb Space Telescope from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The telescope captured the exoplanet, HIP 65426 b, which is at least 6 times larger than Jupiter. The exoplanet is also a gas-giant, so it couldn’t support life. Additionally, NASA states that, unlike our 4.5-billion-year-old Earth, HIP 65426 b is about 15 million years old. Which is the young for a planet. 

The exoplanet, according to NASA, had already been discovered in 2017 in Chile using SPHERE on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. However, these new pictures are in longer infrared wavelengths of light as opposed to the short infrared wavelengths that the telescope used in 2017. The longer infrared wavelengths allow us to see the little light the planet produces or light that is blocked by dust. As stated by Slate, the light that planets farther away emit gets redshifted, stretched out from visible to infrared light. The infrared wavelengths that the Webb Telescope is using also pick up more details of the planet than telescopes on Earth ever could. According to NASA, the James Webb Telescope also used different bands of light that were later color coordinated when they got to Earth. 

The exoplanet photos color coordinated by the different bands of light they were taken in, including Near-Infrared Camera (NIRcam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Photo provided by NASA.

Originally launched in December of 2021, around 7:20 am (ET), the James Webb Space Telescope is not an ordinary telescope. Since it is the largest telescope ever launched into space, being about the size of a tennis court after it unfolded from its compact launching stage. The telescope is set to stay in space for about 5-10 years to extend the discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope. It will additionally look at where stars and planetary systems are forming, and deeper into the beginning of time. 

The pictures of exoplanet HIP 65426 b were not the James Webb telescope’s only discovery. It captured 30 Doradus, sometimes known as the Tarantula Nebula, 161,000 light years away. According to NASA, the Tarantula Nebula is “thousands of never-before-seen young stars” in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. NASA also stated that the 30 Doradus was captured with a high-resolution infrared instrument on the telescope. 

Picture of the Tarantula Nebula the James Webb Telescope took. Photo provided by News18.

This new planet that was discovered, will allow more research and possibly new satellites and telescopes to be built. Even though, it does not have a solid surface, it can still be explored in other ways with other techniques. This is just the beginning of deep space exploration.

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