Webb Science Favorites
Not sure you know this, but Keenan and I are Aerospace Engineers during the day. Our first project out the college gate (Keenan went to UCLA and I went to Cal Poly SLO) was NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Sixteen collective Burt Bro years were spent with Northrop Grumman and NASA getting Webb’s Sunshield through qualification testing, final stow, launch site preparations, and on-orbit deployments. We always envisioned JWST Success and how that would feel, but I can’t explain how much joy these early pictures bring me. It took many good people working their butts off six days a week even over holidays to make something bigger than the sum of the parts. Thank you to everyone who made J Dub a reality, both people we know or did not get the pleasure to meet. You know who you are. You guys are Champions and I now cherish my time in the trenches shoulder to shoulder with you. It was all worth it baby.
Below are our favorite science products (in rank order) to date. We will keep updating this as more science comes out. So pumped up right now!
First off, the link to all the raw images on Flicker is below. Most information below is direct from that source.
Cosmic Tree Rings
- Every 8 years this star pair Wolf-Rayet 140 (WR 140) gets close enough to combine and then emit star dust. Looks like the rings of a tree!
- Observed by the mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) which is Webb’s bread and butter. MIRI operates deeper in the IR (5-28 microns) than any of the great observatories and is cooled down to less than 7 degrees above absolute zero (7K) or -450F!!!!
The Tarantula Nebula
- This slow zoom-in puts in perspective how far we are looking with Webb. 🤯
First Image Deep Field
- Completed in a day (in higher resolution) than what Hubble took weeks to do. This was the first image to show how big of a leap forward Webb offers.
- Gravitational lens everywhere!!!! The Theory of Relativity hypothesized by Einstein in 1905 says massive objects can bend Space and Time (watch Interstellar!). This image shows exactly how right he was. Scientists are using gravitational lens as tools to look even farther back and want to come back to this first image.
The Cosmic Cliffs
- Nothing needs to be said here
- Another awesome zoom-in and a great illustration of our resolution evolution.
- Cool visual of how NASA can focus multiple space telescopes on a single point and use them together
- Webb infrared (red, orange, yellow, green, blue)
- Chandra X-Ray (light blue)
- Spitzer Space Telescope infrared, now retired (red, green, blue)
The Pillars of Creation
- This image holds a special place in our heart. We did education and public outreach for JWST before we worked on the flight project. This was the Hubble Image we used to explain Webb along with our sub-scale deployment models. Now Webb is looking at it for real.
- The raw file is 8400 x14600 pixels! 160MB!!! Download and Zoom!
Check out NASA's Webb page (hehe) if you are interested in the technical details of how we got all this done!
As of writing this on Oct 22, we aren’t even at a year anniversary. And serious science gets double checked all over. The good stuff has yet to come. Thanks for reading! We will try to keep this post updated, so come on back now ya hear!?