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Far out! The James Webb Space Telescope takes the first-ever picture of something outside the sun.

Far out! The James Webb Space Telescope takes the first-ever picture of something outside the sun.

Forget about consumer cameras and smartphone cameras. The James Webb Space Telescope from NASA is one of the most exciting imaging tools we have today. It has given us views of places and planets we’ll never be able to visit and strange things we can’t even imagine.

Far out The James Webb Space Telescope takes the first ever picture of something outside the sun.
(Image credit: NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team, and A. Pagan (STScI))

Even though the James Webb Space Telescope(opens in new tab) has only been up and running for a few months, we’ve already seen some amazing and beautiful pictures from it (opens in new tab). Now, astronomers have used the telescope for the first time ever to take a picture of a planet outside our solar system.

The planet in the picture is a gas giant with no solid surface. Four different light filters were used to look at it through a telescope. According to the official NASA release (opens in new tab), Webb’s powerful infrared eyes “can easily capture worlds beyond our solar system, pointing the way to future observations that will reveal more information than ever before about exoplanets.”

How was the “image” of the exoplanet made?

The great thing about NASA is that it shares what it finds with the rest of the world. This helps us learn more about physics and space and gives us new ideas about the universe we live in. NASA shared the image below, which shows that the image of the exoplanet HIP 65426 b, which has a catchy name, is made up of four different camera views from the NIRCam instrument at different micrometer measurements.

Far out The James Webb Space Telescope takes the first ever picture of something outside the sun. 1
This image shows the exoplanet named HIP 65426 b in different bands of infrared light, as seen from the James Webb Space Telescope (Image credit: NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team, and A. Pagan (STScI))

“These images look different because of how the different Webb instruments capture light. A set of masks in each instrument, called a coronagraph, blocks out the host star’s light so that the planet can be seen. The small white star in each image marks the location of the host star HIP 65426, which has been subtracted using the coronagraphs and image processing. The bar shapes in the NIRCam images are artifacts of the telescope’s optics, not objects in the scene

The people who made the picture

We can’t forget that this telescope is the result of decades of research, planning, and the work of hundreds of scientists. The images were analyzed by Aarynn Carter, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Carter says,

  • “Obtaining this image felt like digging for space treasure,”

says Carter.

“At first all I could see was light from the star, but with careful image processing, I was able to remove that light and uncover the planet. I think what’s most exciting is that we’ve only just begun. There are many more images of exoplanets to come that will shape our overall understanding of their physics, chemistry, and formation. We may even discover previously unknown planets, too.”

Even though they won’t help you see planets outside our solar system, the best telescopes are great for looking at the night sky, and the best camera for astrophotography can help you take pictures of it.

Corey
About Author

Corey

Freelance journalist Corey has been writing about digital photography since 2006, first as a deputy editor and then as the editor of a variety of photographic journals. Featuring expert product reviews and in-depth features

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