What are we really looking at when we see the James Webb Space Telescope images of the Carina Nebula, Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet, and more? How are these images rendered from the JWST data? How do we understand what stars and exoplanets are made of from thousands of lightyears away? And is there life out there?
“So what everybody wants to find is methane,” explains Bill Nye in this Wired video.
“If you found natural gas, it might mean that there’s living things producing it. Whoa. ‘Cause the main source of methane here on Earth, is living things, bacteria. So if we find a star with a planet, with an atmosphere that has methane, we might infer that there was life out there, which would change everything.”
An infrared observatory orbiting the Sun, the James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 22, 2021. Its mission: To find “the first galaxies that formed in the early universe and to see stars forming planetary systems,” teaming up with and expanding on the Hubble Telescope‘s long-celebrated capabilities.
NASA delivered JWST’s first batch of images and data to the public on July 12, 2022.
Learn more with one of our favorite videos on TKSST: This Is A Film About The James Webb Space Telescope.
Plus, a few other related videos:
• 5,000 Exoplanets: 30 years of sonified exoplanet discoveries
• Are there aliens out there?
• What is light? Royal Observatory Greenwich explains…
• What have we found while looking for another Earth?