Cherokee County

Tellus astronomers say new NASA photos give us clues about how the universe started

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Scientists at NASA are analyzing newly released images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

The infrared pictures from deep space are revealing sights that are billions of light years away. These images have never been seen until now.

NASA released the images at the White House during a scheduled event on July 12.

Since then, Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns took them to astronomers at Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville to find out what scientists expect to learn from the data.

“Imagine now we are going back almost to the beginning of time itself, the time of creation itself. It will give us a better understanding of how the universe developed,” astronomer David Dundee said.

The first images showed us a planet outside of our solar system, images of dying stars and a cluster of thousands of galaxies dancing around each other.


Dundee said studying these early images shows how the early formation of the universe involved different elements from those we see in our solar system and galaxies now.

He said we can also expect to learn more about how black holes develop.

Tellus astronomer Karisa Zdanky explained how the telescope uses infrared to gather images.

“Light is a spectrum. What we see when we look at our yard is visible light. The James Webb is looking at infrared or heat,” Zdanky said.

Getting the telescope to space took a specific science, as well. The observatory was folded into a rocket to be sent to space.

“They actually had to build the telescope precisely wrong because the metals would change. So when it finally got up and cooled down it would be the perfect size,” Zdanky said.

When it comes to finding life beyond Earth or our solar system, Dundee had this to say: “I don’t think we’ll actually get an image of somebody piling on a spacecraft, but for the first time we might be able to detect the existence of life and these other planets. The sheer knowledge that we’re not alone, I think, would be profound impact on the human species.”