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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Thousands of years ago, a star in our galaxy violently exploded and created a glowing supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A that has intrigued scientists for decades.

Now, a new image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed the closest and most detailed look inside the exploded star, according to astronomers. Analyzing the image could help researchers better understand the processes that fuel these massive incendiary events.

The space observatory has also allowed astronomers to glimpse mysterious features that haven’t appeared in images taken of the remnant using telescopes like Hubble, Chandra or Spitzer or Webb’s other instruments.

The new image was shared on Monday by first lady Dr. Jill Biden as she debuted the first-ever digital White House Advent Calendar, which includes Webb’s new perspective of Cassiopeia A that seems to shine like a Christmas ornament.

“We’ve never had this kind of look at an exploded star before,” said astronomer Dan Milisavljevic, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University, in a statement. “Supernovae are primary drivers of cosmological evolution. The energies, their chemical abundances — there is so much that depends on our understanding of supernovae. This is the closest look we’ve had at a supernova in our galaxy.”

Swirls of gas and dust are all that remain of the star that went supernova 10,000 years ago. Cassiopeia A is located 11,000 light-years away in the Cassiopeia constellation. A light-year, equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion kilometers), is how far a beam of light travels in one year.

The light from Cassiopeia A first reached Earth about 340 years ago. As the youngest known supernova remnant in our galaxy, the celestial object has been studied by a multitude of ground- and space-based telescopes. The remnant stretches for about 10 light-years across, or 60 trillion miles (96.6 trillion kilometers).

Insights from Cas A, as the remnant is also known, allow scientists to learn more about the life cycle of stars.

Seeing Cas A in a new light

Astronomers used Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera, called NIRCam, to see the supernova remnant at different wavelengths of light than those used in previous observations. The image shows unprecedented details of the interaction between the expanding shell of material created by the supernova as it collides with the gas released by the star prior to the explosion.

But the image looks completely different from one taken by Webb in April using the telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI. In each image, certain features stand out that are invisible in the other.

Webb observes the universe in wavelengths of infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye. As scientists process Webb’s data, the light captured by the telescope is translated into a spectrum of colors visible to humans.

The new NIRCam image is dominated by orange and light pink flashes of color within the supernova remnant’s inner shell. The colors correspond to gaseous knots of elements shed by the star, including oxygen, argon, neon and sulfur. Mixed within the gas are dust and molecules. Eventually, all of these ingredients will combine to form new stars and planets.

Studying the remnant allows scientists to reconstruct what happened during the supernova.

“With NIRCam’s resolution, we can now see how the dying star absolutely shattered when it exploded, leaving filaments akin to tiny shards of glass behind,” Milisavljevic said. “It’s really unbelievable after all these years studying Cas A to now resolve those details, which are providing us with transformational insight into how this star exploded.”

Webb’s dual perspectives

When comparing the NIRCam image with the MIRI image taken in April, the new perspective seems less colorful. The bright swirls of orange and red from the April image look smokier through NIRCam’s eyes, showing where the shock wave from the supernova crashed into surrounding material.

The white light in the NIRCam image is due to synchrotron radiation, which is created when charged particles accelerate and travel around magnetic field lines.

Astronomers spied previously unseen details in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A using the Webb telescope's Near-Infrared Camera (left) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (right).

A key feature missing from the NIRCam view is the “Green Monster” from the MIRI image, or a circle of green light in the remnant’s center, that has puzzled and challenged astronomers.

But new details can be seen in the near-infrared image that point to circular holes wreathed in white and purple, designating charged particles of debris that shape the gas shed by the star before it exploded.

Another new feature in the NIRCam image is a blob nicknamed Baby Cas A that can be seen in the bottom right corner, which looks like an offspring of the larger supernova remnant and is located 170 light-years behind Cassiopeia A.

Baby Cas A is actually a feature called a light echo, where the supernova’s light interacted with dust and caused it to heat up. The dust continues to glow as it cools over time.

“It’s staggering,” said Milisavljevic, who led a project team that contributed to the new image. “Some features have popped up that are completely new — that will change the way we think about stellar life cycles.”