Tag: remote sensing

Today NASA unveiled first images from their flagship James Webb Space Telescope or JWST. This is an image of Carina Nebula, one of the largest and brightest nebulae that is visible in the night sky. It is located about 7,600 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina.

Called the Cosmic Cliffs, JWST’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.


The image above shows the Southern Ring Nebula, also called the “Eight-Burst,” which is 2,000 light-years away from Earth. Planetary nebulae are the shells of gas and dust ejected from dying stars. The image reveal details of the nebula that were previously hidden from astronomers.

This observation shows the Southern Ring Nebula almost face-on, but if we could rotate it to view it edge-on, its three-dimensional shape would more clearly look like two bowls placed together at the bottom, opening away from one another with a large hole at the center. The brighter star is in an earlier stage of its stellar evolution and will probably eject its own planetary nebula in the future.