Space

How To Follow the Next Steps of NASA’s Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the next of NASA’s Great Observatories; following in the line of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. JWST combines qualities of two of its predecessors, observing in infrared light, like Spitzer, with fine resolution, like Hubble. Credit: NASA, SkyWorks Digital, Northrop Grumman, STScI

Now that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s first images and data have been released, you might be wondering: What comes next?

There is a packed schedule of science programs already slated for the World’s preeminent observatory. This includes looking at all kinds of cosmic phenomena, like planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, and more. Webb will revolutionize our understanding of the universe — but first, scientists need time to analyze data and make sure that they understand what they’re seeing. Here are four key things to know about Webb’s next steps:

More images are coming. Webb has already captured more images beyond the ones you saw on July 12, and the Cartwheel Galaxy is just one example. Hold onto your intergalactic hats — NASA will be rolling those out in the coming weeks at nasa.gov/webb and on the NASAWebb social media channels. Some of those images give a first look at Webb’simpressive  capabilities, but are not part of science programs. In the meantime, you can revisit the first images at nasa.gov/webbfirstimages. NASA also has this page where you can find the full assortment of images and data at full resolution.

News releases on results will be coming, too, once they have been reviewed. You may have seen researchers on social media posting their preliminary findings from Webb data. But before NASA publicizes results in news materials, they wait for the findings to be peer-reviewed — meaning, the science community has assessed the results. Science is a collaborative process of asking questions, testing out ideas, discussing with colleagues, and doing it all over. The peer-review process generally happens when researchers submit their findings to a journal or conference. It may take a little while, but it’s worth it to root out as many errors as possible.

There is other publicly available data you can check out. Anyone can take a deep dive into what Webb saw during the commissioning period, such as images of Jupiter and some of its moons. Check out the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, which scientists call “MAST,” for what’s out there right now.

The current Webb observing schedule is set and available. If you want to find out what the Webb Space Telescope is looking at this week, visit the Space Telescope Science Institute’s weekly schedule to find out which cosmic objects the observatory is examining. The full buffet of Webb observations for the next year, known as Cycle 1, is available here.

Thanks for being part of this historic journey!

Share
By
Elizabeth Landau, NASA

Recent Posts

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Monstrous Global Tsunami With Mile-High Waves

Sixty-six million years ago a miles-wide asteroid struck Earth, wiping out nearly all the dinosaurs…

October 5, 2022

NASA, SpaceX Proceeding to Crew-5 Launch to International Space Station

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming launch activities for the SpaceX Crew-5 mission…

October 5, 2022

Even Moderate Exercise Can Greatly Increase Brain Size

The effects are more pronounced in brain areas with high oxygen demand. Exercise keeps both…

October 4, 2022

Caltech’s Breakthrough New Nanophotonic Chip “Squeezes” More Out of Light

Electronic computing and communications have advanced significantly since the days of radio telegraphy and vacuum…

October 4, 2022

Parallels to HIV: Another Fatal Monkey Virus Could Be Poised for Spillover to Humans

Evoking parallels to HIV, authors are calling on global health community to be vigilant. According…

October 4, 2022

Scientists Show Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Multiple Generations

Changing the epigenetic marks on chromosomes results in altered gene expression in offspring and in…

October 4, 2022