NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, J. Lee (STScI), T. Williams (Oxford), PHANGS Team
This Webb image shows a densely populated spiral galaxy anchored by a central region that has a light blue haze, known NGC 628. It's 32 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces.
In this new image of Uranus, the planet shines shine brightly, along with its many rings and moons.
The James Webb Space Telescope's shot of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A shows elaborate details visible for the first time.
There are approximately 500,000 stars in this image of the Sagittarius C region of the Milky Way. The bright cyan area contains emissions from ionized hydrogen.
Galaxy cluster MACS0416 is seen here in exquisite detail thanks to a composite image created with data from both NASA's James Webb and Hubble space telescopes.
Scientists are hoping to gain more information about the origins of the Crab Nebula, thanks to new details spotted by the James Webb Space Telescope.
This image shows the Ring Nebula in exceptional detail, like the filament elements in the ring's inner section.
Earendel, the most distant star ever discovered, can be seen in this image of the Sunrise Arc galaxy.
NASA/ESA/CSA/JWST Ring Nebula Team
The Ring Nebula is seen in breathtaking detail, in a composite image released on August 4.
J. DePasquale/CSA/ESA/NASA
The James Webb Space Telescope captured a high-resolution image of a pair of actively forming stars called Herbig-Haro 46/47. The stellar duo, only a few thousand years old, is located at the center of the red diffraction spikes.
NASA/ESA/CSA/Klaus Pontoppidan, STScI
The James Webb Space Telescope captured a detailed closeup of the birth of sunlike stars in the Rho Ophiuchi cloud, the closest star-forming region located 390 light-years from Earth. The young stars release jets that cause the surrounding gas to glow. The image's release marks the first anniversary of Webb's observations of the cosmos.
Saturn and its moons were captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope June 25. The image shows details of the planet's atmosphere and ring system.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured the Orion Bar, a part of the Orion Nebula that is being eroded by stellar radiation emanating from the Trapezium Cluster.
This composite image, shot from the James Webb Space Telescope's MIRI and NIRCam instruments, shows the bright clusters of stars and dust from barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068.
Webb captured a burst of star formation triggered by two colliding spiral galaxies called Arp 220. The phenomenon is the closest ultra-luminous galactic merger to Earth.
NASA/ESA/CSA/A. Pagan/A. Gáspár
Dusty rings surround Fomalhaut, a young star outside of our solar system that's 25 light-years from Earth.
NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Webb ERO Production Team
The Wolf-Rayet star WR 124 was one of the James Webb Space Telescope's first discoveries, spotted in June 2022.
NASA/ESA/CSA/D. D. Milisavljevic/T. Temim/I. De Looze
Stunning details can be seen in this Webb telescope photo of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, which is 11,000 light-years from Earth.
Space Telescope Science Institut/STScI
Webb's image of ice giant Uranus shows off the planet's incredible rings and a bright haze covering its north polar cap (right). A bright cloud lies at the cap's edge and a second one is seen at left.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured 50,000 sources of near-infrared light in a new image of Pandora's Cluster, a megacluster of galaxies. The cluster acts like a magnifying glass, allowing astronomers to see more distant galaxies behind it.
Stars shine through the hazy material of the Chamaeleon I dark molecular cloud, which is 630 light-years away from Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope spotted NGC 346, one of the most dynamic star-forming regions near the Milky Way, located in a dwarf galaxy called the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Two galaxies, known as II ZW96, form a swirl shape while merging in the constellation Delphinus.
The James Webb Space Telescope revealed features of a new protostar forming.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured a new perspective of the Pillars of Creation in mid-infrared light. The dust of this star-forming region, rather than the stars themselves, is the highlight, and resembles ghostly figures.
Webb captured a highly detailed snapshot of the so-called Pillars of Creation, a vista of three looming towers made of interstellar dust and gas that's speckled with newly formed stars. The area, which lies within the Eagle Nebula about 6,500 light-years from Earth, had previously been captured by the Hubble Telescope in 1995, creating an image deemed "iconic" by space observers.
The two stars in WR140 produce shells of dust every eight years that look like rings, as captured by the Webb telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope contributed to this image of galactic pair VV 191. Webb observed the brighter elliptical galaxy (left) and spiral galaxy (right) in near-infrared light, and Hubble collected data in visible and ultraviolet light.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured spiral galaxy IC 5332, which is over 29 million light-years away. The observatory's MIRI instrument peered through interstellar dust to see the galaxy's "bones."
Webb captured the clearest view of the Neptune's rings in over 30 years.
The inner region of the Orion Nebula as seen by the telescope's NIRCam instrument. The image reveals intricate details about how stars and planetary systems are formed.
NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Webb ERO Production Team
NASA released a mosaic image of the Tarantula Nebula on Tuesday, September 6. The image, which spans 340 light-years, shows tens of thousands of young stars that were previously obscured by cosmic dust.
A new image of the Phantom Galaxy, which is 32 million light-years away from Earth, combines data from the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA released an image of Jupiter on Monday, August 22, that shows the planet's famous Great Red Spot appearing white.
The James Webb Space Telescope captured the Cartwheel galaxy, which is around 500 million light-years away, in a photo released by NASA on August 2.
Webb's landscape-like view, called "Cosmic Cliffs," is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. The telescope's infrared view reveals previously invisible areas of star birth.
The five galaxies of Stephan's Quintet can be seen here in a new light. The galaxies appear to dance with one another, showcasing how these interactions can drive galactic evolution.
This side-by-side comparison shows observations of the Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared light, left, and mid-infrared light, right, from NASA's Webb telescope. The Southern Ring Nebula is 2,000 light-years away from Earth. This large planetary nebula includes an expanding cloud of gas around a dying star, as well as a secondary star earlier on in its evolution.
President Joe Biden released one of Webb's first images on July 11, and it's "the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date," according to NASA. The image shows SMACS 0723, where a massive group of galaxy clusters act as a magnifying glass for the objects behind them. Called gravitational lensing, this created Webb's first deep field view of incredibly old and distant, faint galaxies.

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A panorama of colliding galaxy clusters glimmers in a new image, captured by the combined forces of the two most powerful space observatories ever created.

The cosmic phenomenon, called MACS0416, is 4.3 billion light-years from Earth. Eventually, the merging pair of giant clusters will combine to form an even more massive collection of glittering galaxies.

New details of the celestial feature have emerged in the colorful image, which unites the observational powers of Hubble Space Telescope in visible light and the James Webb Space Telescope in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.

Together, the renowned observatories present a more comprehensive look at the universe. Hubble has long been used to search for faint, distant galaxies across different wavelengths of light. Webb’s infrared gaze enables that search to occur at even farther distances, detecting invisible light deeper into the early days of the universe.

A light-year, equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles, is how far a beam of light travels in a year. Given the distance between Earth and the objects from the early days of the universe, when telescopes such as Webb observe this light, it’s effectively like looking into the past.

“We are building on Hubble’s legacy by pushing to greater distances and fainter objects,” said Rogier Windhorst, regents professor in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a statement.

Windhorst is the principal investigator of the PEARLS, or Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science, program that conducted the Webb observations.

A ‘Christmas tree’ of galaxies

The colors in the new image, released Thursday, are used to indicate distance. Blue-hued galaxies are the closest, bursting with star formation and easily seen in visible light by Hubble. The red galaxies are more distant, best detected by Webb in infrared light.

“The whole picture doesn’t become clear until you combine Webb data with Hubble data,” Windhorst said.

The new Webb observations were used to search for objects that change in brightness over time, called transients.

Within the galactic clusters’ field of view, Webb helped astronomers identify 14 transients, all of which were visible due to gravitational lensing. This cosmic effect occurs when closer objects — such as the galactic clusters — act like a magnifying glass for distant objects. Gravity essentially warps and amplifies the light of distant galaxies in the background of whatever is doing the magnifying, enabling observations of otherwise invisible celestial features.

The transients include 12 stars or star systems and two supernovas in galaxies that were amplified using gravitational lensing.

“We’re calling MACS0416 the Christmas Tree Galaxy Cluster, both because it’s so colorful and because of these flickering lights we find within it. We can see transients everywhere,” said Haojing Yan, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri. Yan is lead author of one study describing the findings that has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

Spotting a stellar giant

One transient in particular captured the attention of astronomers, a star system they have nicknamed “Mothra,” the titular giant monster of a 1961 Japanese film. The stellar system, magnified by a factor of 4,000 due to gravitational lensing, was traced to a galaxy that existed 3 billion years after the big bang created the universe.

The Webb and Hubble composite image includes "Mothra," a star system magnified by the galactic cluster pair as well as another unseen object.

The team nicknamed the star system Mothra due to its extreme magnification and brightness.

Surprisingly, Mothra has appeared before, detected in Hubble observations nine years ago. Astronomers are stumped as to how this happened, because there must be a specific alignment between the galactic cluster and the more distant star to cause the magnification at a point in time. So how did Mothra also appear magnified in the new Webb observations?

“The most likely explanation is a globular star cluster that’s too faint for Webb to see directly,” said José Diego, researcher at the Institute of Physics of Cantabria in Spain and lead author of another paper describing the finding, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. “But we don’t know the true nature of this additional lens yet.”