This ‘Zoom’ Video into a Nebula Captured by the James Webb Telescope Is a Real Spacey Trip
Space lover and YouTuber “thebhp” has created a “zoom in” style video using the James Webb Space Telescope’s image of the Southern Ring Nebula, and it feels like falling down a cosmic well full of galaxies.
NASA recently released a handful of the first-ever full-color images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), including a “quintet” of sparkling, tightly grouped galaxies, and a cluster of stars seven light-years across. Now, people online are having fun with the images, including space lover and YouTuber “thebhp.” The ‘Tuber, whose name is “Ram,” has turned one particular image of the Southern Ring Nebula into a “zoom into” video and it’s a kaleidoscopic trip through space.
In thebhp’s video (immediately above), he starts the viewer off soaring across the galactic plane of the Milky Way Galaxy; amidst endless stars like glowing grains of sand, and particularly bright orbs of light—from quasars? supernovae?—strewn here and there. Then, as the camera continues to zoom in on the nebula, galaxies envelop the viewer’s POV entirely. Making it seem like one is falling down a cosmic well.
At about half way through the video all of the millions(?) of galaxies hit peak, blurry luminosity and then quickly begin to refocus into masses of blazing stars throwing off spears of light into the abyss. Finally, we arrive at the Southern Ring Nebula: a planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 3132. (A planetary nebula is a region of cosmic gas and dust formed from the cast-off outer layers of a dying star.)
According to NASA, the dimmer star at the center of the image of the Southern Ring Nebula (at the end of the video) has been pulsing rings of gas and dust outward in all directions for thousands of years; for the first time, the space agency says this image reveals the star is cloaked in dust.
For space travelers who need another drink of Milky Way, this video captured by the “All Sky Camera” at Gemini Observatory South in Chile is quite spectacular. Although it’d be better in color. Maybe the folks at Gemini can learn a thing or two about coloring images from the JWST team; the images the space telescope snaps begin life as black and white photos, after all.
Feature image: thebhp
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