The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) continues to prove its worth. On July 12, NASA and the European Space Agency released the first five images from the JWST.
They included: the Carina Nebula; Stephan’s Quintet; the South Ring Nebula; WASP-96b; and SMACS 0723. The Carina Nebula is a young star-forming region located about 7,600 light-years away.
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Stephan’s Quintet is a group of five galaxies: four interact with each other. All four are about 290 million light-years away, and the fifth is about 40 million light-years from Earth.
The South Ring Nebula is the remnant of an exploded star and is about 2,500 light-years from Earth.
WASP-96 b is an exoplanet about 1,150 light-years away. Webb discovered the existence of water vapor in its atmosphere.
SMACS 0723 is a cluster of galaxies 4.5 billion light-years away. The image is packed with thousands of galaxies and represents the area of the sky the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. This image was posted on July 11 by President Biden during an event at the White House.
You can see these images at nasa.gov/webbfirstimages.
morning sky: All the planetary action continues practically in the morning sky this month. Venus, Mars, Jupiter are all visible before sunrise throughout the month. Saturn reaches opposition in the middle of the month, which means it rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west and becomes an evening object. Watch as the Moon catches up and passes each planet during the month; see dates below.
evening sky: Saturn becomes an evening object in mid-August. You could catch Mercury very low in the west after sunset towards the end of the month. Optical aid will help. Watch as the Moon passes by a couple of bright stars; see dates below.
1st: Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn form a line in the morning sky before sunrise throughout the month.
3rd: Moon near the bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden in the night sky.
6th: Moon near the bright star Antares, “Rival of Mars”, in Scorpius in the evening sky.
6th: Free Tallahassee Astronomical Society Planetarium Show, “August Skies over Tallahassee,” at the Downtown Digital Dome Theater and Planetarium at the Challenger Learning Center (not recommended for children under 5). The doors close at 10 am sharp. Masks highly recommended.
eleven: Full Moon near Saturn.
12-13: Perseid shower. The moon will remove most meteors.
14: Saturn reaches opposition becoming an evening object.
fifteen: Moon near Jupiter in the morning sky.
18: Venus near the Beehive star cluster in the morning sky.
19: The last quarter Moon joins Mars near the Pleiades star cluster in the morning sky.
twenty: Moon near Aldebaran in Leo the Lion in the morning sky.
23: Moon forms triangle with Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins in the morning sky.
24: Moon forms a line with Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins in the morning sky.
25: Crescent Moon near Venus in the morning sky.
30: Moon near the bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden in the night sky.
Ken Kopczynski is president of the Tallahassee Astronomical Society, a local group of amateur astronomers.
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