Merry Christmas! Here are the most beautiful photos of space by James Webb

James Webb left Earth on December 25, 2021. A year later, the space telescope shared many snaps. Here are the most beautiful photos taken by the observatory so far.

December 25, 2021. An Ariane 5 rocket lifts off with the James Webb Space Telescope on board. Here we are a year later and the observatory, located nearly 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, has not ceased to dazzle us since it came into operation in the summer of 2022. The beginnings of James Webb are unquestionably the space event of the year.

No doubt you have in mind the very first photo shared by James Webb, showing an end of the deep field, an expression that designates one of the most remote areas of the observable Universe. Or do you remember the four other remarkable shots published very soon after? Sumptuous enough to make wallpapers.

But since then there have been many more. So here, to mark the occasion for this very first anniversary of the departure of James Webb, and because it’s Christmas, a gallery of the most sumptuous photos shared by the space observatory.

The best pictures of James Webb

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant Universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground. This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks. The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.

The galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. // Source: NASA

The Carina Nebula. // Source: NASA

The Southern Ring Nebula. // Source: NASA

Stephan’s Quintet. // Source: NASA

James Webb photographed the phantom galaxy (M74) in the infrared spectrum. // Source: ESA

The Cartwheel galaxy seems almost on fire. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

The Tarantula Nebula is seen by James Webb. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Explosions detected live by James Webb… and Hubble. // Source: Nasa / Esa

Neptune in an almost magical view. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

The center of this hourglass is as vast as the Solar System. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

The planet Jupiter as seen by James Webb. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team

The very famous Pillars of Creation. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Pillars of dust spanning light years. // Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

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