Webb’s First Deep Field (MIRI and NIRCam Images Side by Side)

Stsci_2022-035b_1024

stsci_2022-035b July 12th, 2022

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is a technicolor landscape when viewed in mid-infrared light by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Compared to Webb’s near-infrared image at right, the galaxies and stars are awash in new colors.

Start by comparing the largest bright blue star. At right, it has very long diffraction spikes, but in mid-infrared at left, its smaller points appear more like a snowflake’s. Find more stars by looking for these telltale – if tiny – spikes. Stars also appear yellow, sometimes with green diffraction spikes.

If an object is blue and lacks spikes, it’s a galaxy. These galaxies contain stars, but very little dust. This means that their stars are older – there is less gas and dust available to condense to form new stars. It also means their stars are aging.

The red objects in this field are enshrouded in thick layers of dust, and may very well be distant galaxies. Some may be stars, but research is needed to fully identify each object in the mid-infrared image.

The prominent arcs at the center of the galaxy cluster, which are galaxies that are stretched and magnified by gravitational lensing, appear blue in the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) image at left and orange in the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) image at right. These galaxies are older and have much less dust.

Galaxies’ sizes in both images offer clues as to how distant they may be – the smaller the object, the more distant it is. In mid-infrared light, galaxies that are closer appear whiter.

Among this kaleidoscope of colors in the MIRI image, green is the most tantalizing. Green indicates a galaxy’s dust includes a mix of hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds.

The differences in Webb’s images are owed to the technical capabilities of the MIRI and NIRCam instruments. MIRI captures mid-infrared light, which highlights where the dust is. Dust is a major ingredient for star formation. Stars are brighter at shorter wavelengths, which is why they appear with prominent diffraction spikes in the NIRCam image.

With Webb’s mid-infrared data, researchers will soon be able to add much more precise calculations of dust quantities in stars and galaxies to their models, and begin to more clearly understand how galaxies at any distance form and change over time.

For a full array of Webb’s first images and spectra, including downloadable files, please visit: https://webbtelescope.org/news/first-images

NIRCam was built by a team at the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center.

MIRI was contributed by ESA and NASA, with the instrument designed and built by a consortium of nationally funded European Institutes (The MIRI European Consortium) in partnership with JPL and the University of Arizona.

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-035

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

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Image Details

Image Type
Collage
Object Name
SMACS 0723-73
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy > Grouping > Cluster
Galaxy > Type > Gravitationally Lensed

Distance

Universescale3
4,240,000,000 light years

Position Details

Position (FK5)
RA = 7h 23m 8.6s
DEC = -73° 26’ 59.2”
Constellation
Volans

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 900.0 nm
Blue Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 1.5 µm
Green Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 2.0 µm
Green Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 2.8 µm
Orange Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 3.6 µm
Red Webb (NIRCam) Infrared 4.4 µm
Blue Webb (MIRI) Infrared 7.7 µm
Green Webb (MIRI) Infrared 10.0 µm
Yellow Webb (MIRI) Infrared 15.0 µm
Red Webb (MIRI) Infrared 18.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Blue
Blue
Green
Green
Orange
Red
Blue
Green
Yellow
Red
Stsci_2022-035b_1280
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ID
2022-035b
Subject Category
D.5.5.3   D.5.1.8  
Subject Name
SMACS 0723-73
Credits
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team
Release Date
2022-07-12T00:00:00
Lightyears
4,240,000,000
Redshift
0.390
Reference Url
https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-035
Type
Collage
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
distance given to cluster at redshift z=0.390
Facility
Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb
Instrument
NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, NIRCam, MIRI, MIRI, MIRI, MIRI
Color Assignment
Blue, Blue, Green, Green, Orange, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
900, 1500, 2000, 2770, 3560, 4440, 7700, 10000, 15000, 18000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
FK5
Equinox
Reference Value
110.7856779410000030, -73.4497732803999952
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-J-p22035b-f-6317x4295.tif
Metadata Date
2022-07-10T12:34:40-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
4,240,000,000 light years