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Scientists released image of M92 captured by James Webb Space Telescope

Scientists released image of M92 captured by James Webb Space Telescope

Scientists released image of M92 captured by James Webb Space Telescope

Scientists released image of M92 captured by James Webb Space Telescope

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  • The telescope focused on M92, globular clusters, for nearly an hour.
  • The globular cluster contains 330,000 stars.
  • Webb will fundamentally alter how we perceive the stellar life cycle.
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The James Webb Space Telescope‘s image of the globular cluster Messier 92 (M92) has been made public by astronomers. The globular cluster, which can be found in the northern constellation of Hercules, was found in 1777 by the astronomer Johann Elert Bode. The telescope focused on M92, one of the Milky Way’s largest, oldest, and brightest globular clusters, for nearly an hour of its limited observational time. The observation was made as part of an Early Release Science programme meant to showcase Webb’s abilities. The globular cluster contains 330,000 stars, and the night sky on a planet orbiting one of those stars would be thousands of times brighter than the night sky on Earth.

The six-pointed diffraction spikes that are characteristic of Webb’s stars can be seen in the image. A chip gap between two detectors inside the NIRCam instrument is the source of the black strip in the centre of the image. Since the light from the stars crowded closely together in the cluster’s centre blocks out the light from the fainter, less dense cluster’s edges, the densest part of the cluster is purposefully hidden by the chip gap. Astronomers are now better able to comprehend both the underlying physics and the motion of the stars in the cluster thanks to Webb’s observation.

Hydrogen and helium are the two main elements in M92, as they are in most globular clusters. The heavier elements, all of which are regarded as metals in astronomy, are cooked up in the cores of successive generations of stars. Thus, globular clusters like M92 are regarded as being “metal-poor.”

Hubble was able to differentiate between the individual stars in a globular cluster when ground-based instruments could not, revolutionizing our understanding of star clusters. The James Webb Space Telescope advances knowledge by enabling astronomers to observe more stars that are hidden from view by gas and dust clouds. We anticipate that Webb will fundamentally alter how we perceive the stellar life cycle.

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