Earlier this month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released several images captured with the help of the James Webb Space Telescope, revealing details of the universe that humanity has never seen before. A video has emerged showing how JWST zoomed through space to capture the stunning, unprecedented image of the planetary nebula NGC 3132, informally known as the Southern Ring Nebula.
Canadian Space Agency shared the video on Twitter explaining how the telescope focused on its target. “This video zooms through space to reveal @nasawebb’s image of the Southern Ring Nebula, 2000 light-years from Earth. Canada’s Fine Guidance Sensor allowed the telescope to point at and focus on its target. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and the Webb ERO Production Team,” the tweet said.
WOW! This video zooms through space to reveal @nasawebb’s image of the Southern Ring Nebula, 2000 light-years from Earth. Canada’s Fine Guidance Sensor allowed the telescope to point at and focus on its target.
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and the Webb ERO Production Team pic.twitter.com/my5vbAjD80
— Canadian Space Agency (@csa_asc) July 21, 2022
The star, approximately 2,500 light-years away, is cloaked in dust. NASA says the dimmer star at the center of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions.
JWST used two cameras to capture the Southern Ring Nebula almost face-on. NIRCam took the observations taken revealing extremely fine rays of light around the planetary nebula. In thousands of years, these delicate layers of gas and dust will dissipate into surrounding space, explained NASA in its blog.
NASA considers the images to be the beginning of Webb’s scientific operations. “The release of these first images marks the official beginning of Webb’s science operations, which will continue to explore the mission’s key science themes,” NASA said.
The JWST was constructed by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp and was launched to space for NASA and its European and Canadian counterparts in December 2021 from French Guiana. It has five introductory targets including the new stars – the Carina Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula, each thousand light-years away from Earth.