NASA, along with the European and Canadian space agencies, will be releasing theon Tuesday, and now we know what celestial bodies we'll be seeing in those historic pictures.
to the Hubble Space Telescope that finally launched on Christmas Day after years of delays.
On Friday, NASA revealed the list of cosmic objects that JWST will target for its first batch of full-color images offering unprecedented and detailed views of deep space. If theis any indication, it's going to be as good as any Instagram feed out there.
The targets include the Carina Nebula and Southern Ring Nebula, which are bright areas of gas and other material. The Carina Nebula (pictured above) is a so-called stellar nursery where stars are forming, and it's filled with massive stars that help make it one of the largest and brightest nebulas in the sky. The Southern Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula -- in this case, a wide cloud of gas half a light-year in diameter surrounding a dying star -- and relatively close on a cosmic scale, at just 2,000 light-years away.
Two other targets we'll see in fantastic high resolution next week are the galaxy group Stephan's Quintet, a particularly photogenic grouping of galaxies that seem to be dancing around each other for eternity, and SMACS 0723, which is a massive galaxy cluster that can act as a so-calledto help scientists see deeper into space and observe fainter galaxies.
JWST also is taking a look at the planet WASP-96b, a gas giant world about half the mass of Jupiter and located 1,150 light-years from Earth. The powerful new instruments on the space telescope should be able to provide new insights into the composition of the planet's atmosphere and a fun teaser of what we'll soon discover about other exoplanets, including those that are more Earth-like.
The images that the space agencies will unveil on July 12 are just the beginning. Scientists have applied to use the telescope through a competitive process, and the first year of observations have already been scheduled. It's quite likely that JWST will change our perspective on some aspects of the universe in the months and years to come.