NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals yet another brilliant, ancient piece of the cosmos.
Instead, whenever the telescope sends back a jaw-dropping space image, it now elicits more of a “JWST strikes again” feeling. And still, our jaws legitimately drop every single time.
This sort of dissonant version of “surprise” has happened yet again — to a pretty extreme degree. Last week, scientists presented the JWST’s brilliant view of a galaxy cluster merging around a massive black hole that houses a rare quasar — aka an incomprehensibly bright jet of light spewing from the void’s chaotic center.
There’s a lot going on here, I know. But the team behind the find thinks it could escalate even further.
“We think something dramatic is about to happen in these systems,” Andrey Vayner, a Johns Hopkins astronomer and co-author of a study about the scene soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, said in a statement. For now, you can check out a detailed outline of the discovery in a paper published on arXiv.
In essence, because it takes time for light to travel through space, every stream of cosmic light that reaches our eyes and our machines is seen as it was long ago. Even moonlight takes about 1.3 seconds to reach Earth, so when we peer up at the moon, we’re seeing it 1.3 seconds in the past.