The James Webb Space Telescope Unveils the Universe as You’ve Never Seen or Heard It Before |

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The James Webb Space Telescope reveals a world of sights and sounds

It is the universe as we have never seen it before. The James Webb Space Telescope is sending back amazing images of deep space that advanced scientists believe will “change astronomy forever.”

It’s not just that we can see space and time billions of years ago. The magic is that we can see absolutely anything.

Although its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, provided some stunning sights, Webb, which was developed in partnership with NASA and the Canadian and European space agencies, is able to look back in time and give us more detail about what lies beyond planet Earth. .

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Take the latest version of the Pillars of Creation first captured by Hubble in 1995. In the original image from the region, considered part of the galaxy’s star-making, plumes of gas clouds that look like long fingers reach into the sky.

What we couldn’t see before, and what the Webb telescope has now revealed, are all the stars hidden behind the gas.

That’s because Webb sees infrared light, which is normally invisible to humans.

pillars of creation. Captured by the Hubble Telescope (left) and the James Webb Telescope (right).

Courtesy / NASA

By capturing infrared light, Webb can see very distant objects, and it takes more than 13.5 billion years for the light from them to reach Earth. This means that Webb is also like a time machine in that he can see what the universe looked like when the Earth and Sun formed.

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However, what Webb transmits is not visible to humans because we are unable to see infrared light.

So the job of Joe DiPasquale and Alyssa Pagan, developers of science visualizations at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, is to translate information from the Web into something visible.

Joe DePasquale, senior developer of science visuals, creates images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

“We can’t see in infrared. So there has to be some level of translation here. But we use physical sense like real physical science in order to represent color,” Pagan told New Reality Scientist.

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With the help of NASA scientists, Pagan and DiPasquale split the images into wavelengths. “We apply color according to those wavelengths. And so our shortest wavelength filters, we use blue for those filters. As we go to longer and longer wavelengths, we go to green and then red,” DiPasquale says.

Scientific visualization developer Alyssa Pagan translates infrared images from the Web into colors we can see.

Joey Ruffini/Global News

The end result is stunning images like the mountainous-looking cosmic slopes of the Carina Nebula captured by Webb.

“What we see when we look at these images is the raw material of life,” says DePasquale.

“We understand the universe. We understand ourselves. It’s so interesting to get this new perspective, this bigger picture. A lot of people can say, ‘Oh, that makes me feel small,’ but I think for a lot of people it makes you feel more united and connected.” , and part of something so great and beautiful. So you’re part of something so wonderful.”

An image of the Carina Nebula taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.


These photos, in and of themselves, are supermodels, yet a Canadian scientist is now adding another level of emotion to the whole thing.

Matt Russo, a University of Toronto physicist who specializes in sonication, is working with musician and friend Andrew Santaguida to add sound to the universe.

“The whole process felt really natural because we’re bringing together the things we’re passionate about: music, astronomy, math, computer programming, science, communications — all of those things wrapped into one package,” Russo says.

Matt Russo, a University of Toronto physicist who specializes in sonication, creates sounds for Web images.

Their first photo-sonication effort was with the Trappist-1 solar system, which was first captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope in 2017.

“[It] It is an amazing solar system with seven Earth-sized planets. But they also happen to be locked into a musical pattern called orbital resonance. This made it really natural to turn their movements into musical rhythms and notes,” says Russo.

They did Trappist sonication for pure enjoyment – and then NASA noticed.

“We kind of started on our own sonicating different (NASA) things, and we would send them and they would start publishing it themselves. Then that eventually led to us working professionally with them.”

Andrew Santagueda, a musician, works with Russo to shoot Web Pictures.

Brent Rose/Global News

Some of the sounds were met with skepticism from the audience, as was the sound of a black hole.

“There is a real sound wave detected in space in a galaxy cluster. And we were able to see the waves in the image, which means we can extract them and reconstruct the sound,” Russo says.

Some outlets would say it’s actually recorded sound of a black hole, as if you had a microphone in space, which we know won’t work for a number of reasons. It is therefore important when we sonicate that we present it for exactly what it is: data converged into a sound.”

Russo and Santaguida are now working on the latest images from the James Webb Telescope.

They take the stunning images DePasquale and Pagan created and put them into a software system designed by Russo.

According to Russo, sometimes, the voice from the data can be a pleasant surprise. Other times, they need to be a little more creative to figure out how best to represent something in a photo. Russo says they always try to be as scientifically rigorous as possible.

“When we have little musical input,” he adds, “we have to decide, for example, which instrument the stars are going to play.” “People seem to have a hunch that the stars will make some sort of bell or ringing sound.”

Their sonic sounds for Webb images now allow people to see and hear the universe.

Obesity offers those with visual impairments the opportunity to experience new insights into what is out there.

“The whole point is to communicate those interesting features in the image, through sound,” says Russo.

Christine Malik, a member of the Toronto Visually Impaired Community and arts and culture consultant, says that the sonication of Rousseau and Santaguida allows her to visualize images from a telescope, even though she is unable to see them.

“I never imagined experiencing astronomy this way,” she tells The New Reality.

Christine Malik, a member of the visually impaired community, helps NASA make web images more accessible.

“When I first experienced sonication, I felt it in a way that wasn’t intellectual; it was sensory and esoteric. So I sometimes wonder if this is how sighted people feel when looking up at the night sky,” Malek says.

She now works regularly with Russo, Santaguida, and NASA to help better translate images from Webb for the benefit of people with visual impairments.

Malik is excited about the future of space exploration and hopeful about the future of accessible content in the field of science.

“I wonder if I were a kid now and found things like sonograms and descriptions of pictures and astronomical objects, would a career in STEM make more sense? Would it be more engaging? And I think the answer to that is yes. So I think that reason is really good for blind and visually impaired children Sight today to grow with this as usual, I think it’s incredibly valuable.”

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