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2 images show how incredible the James Webb Space Telescope truly is

Updated Oct 3rd, 2022 10:09AM EDT
James Webb Orion Nebula
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, Data reduction and analysis : PDRs4All ERS Team; graphical processing S. Fuenmayor & O. Berné

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James Webb continues to wow with the level of detail that astronomers are able to capture with the space telescope. Now, James Webb has captured a new image that when compared with previous images of the same location, shows the true potential of NASA’s newest space telescope.

Related coverage: See our ultimate guide to the James Webb telescope.

James Webb’s images are even more impressive next to Hubble’s

Hubble versus James Webb potentialImage source: JWST image: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; image processing Olivier Berné. HST image: NASA/STScI/Rice Univ./C.O’Dell et al. – Program ID: PRC95-45a.

The images are both taken of the heart of the Orion Nebula, a massive birthing ground for stars located just around 1,300 light-years away from Earth. The only difference is that one was taken with the Hubble space telescope, and one was taken using James Webb. We already knew that James Webb’s potential was better than expected. However, seeing its images next to Hubble’s showcases that more.

Both images highlight the Orion Nebula’s inner region and the Orion Bar, which faces the Trapezium Cluster. In James Webb’s image, we’re able to see the details of these nebulous clouds more clearly. Webb’s sensitive infrared instruments also let us peer deeper into the thick dust layers. The comparisons were created by the PDRs4All team and show James Webb’s true potential.

James Webb comparison SpitzerImage source: JWST: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; image processing Olivier Berné. Spitzer: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Megeath (University of Toledo, Ohio)

Hubble has consistently delivered great images, though, despite its age. Compared to the Spitzer Space Telescope, James Webb’s predecessor for infrared studies, James Webb’s potential is even clearer. The two images I’ve included above show a distinct difference in sharpness and detail. It’s truly amazing to see how far our space exploration hardware has come.

I already talked about how amazing James Webb’s Orion Nebula image is, but this comparison simply showcases that incredibleness even more. With Webb capturing such deep and detailed images, we may finally have a leg up in the search for an inhabitable exoplanet. There’s no doubt this telescope will also give us even more insight into the early universe, as we saw in Webb’s first images.

More James Webb coverage: See the stunning images of Neptune taken by James Webb.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.