An astronomer clarifies the very first JWST technology pics

The very first technology pictures from JWST are undoubtedly terrific, but what are we seeing in them and what can learn from them? I have been at the National Astronomy Meeting at the College of Warwick all week with 500 of my guy astronomers, and we have been geeking out over the photographs together – plus getting our hands on some of the very first raw data to come off the telescope to look at what we can find.

More on the James Webb Space Telescope:
Hear from Dr Sarah Kendrew from the MIRI tool development team:
See all the early release technology project descriptions and proposals here, the data from which is currently public:
Keep up-to-date with all things JWST on the NASA blog:

00:00 – Introduction
00:28 – Carina Nebula
03:38 – Stephan’s Quintet
06:49 – Southern Ring Nebula
08:45 – SMACS 0723
12:28 – WASP-96 b
15:36 – New JWST merch to commemorate
16:14 – Foul-ups

👕 My new merch is attainable here (with world wide transport!):

📚 Pre-order my new book, “A Brief History of Black Holes”, out 1st September 2022 (USA & Canada hardback out 1st November 2022):

🎧 Royal Astronomical Society Podcast that I co-host:

👩🏽‍💻 I’m Dr. Becky Smethurst, an astronomer at the University of Oxford (Christ Church). I love making video clips about technology with an unnatural level of eagerness. I like to focus on how we know things, not just what we know. And particularly, the things we still do not know. If you have ever wondered about something in space and could not find a reaction on-line – you can ask me! My day job is to do research into how supermassive black holes can affect the galaxies that they live in. In specific, I look at whether or not the energy output from the disk of material orbiting around a growing supermassive black hole can stop a galaxy from forming stars.


  1. Dear Dr. Becky: Your joy is infectious. Thank you for infecting me 💜💛💚

  2. It sucks for whatever creatures live in those galaxies that are being eaten. Hopefully they can leave or naohs ark the situation.

  3. You’re videos made my day

  4. I have just been made aware of the role of James Webb in purging Gay and Lesbian people from the State department and NASA. I hope to bring to your attention the evil this caused. Honoring this telescope with this man’s name is a travesty repeating his name endlessly to promote astronomy perpetuates the tragedy against countless loyal and positive persons purged. Please stop using this man’s name in relation to astronomy.

  5. I love this presentation

  6. This is exciting stuff💚🇬🇧🌱

  7. Cool we made a 15 billion dollar camera and the public doesn’t get to see the photos. Biggest waste of money in a long time. We need to be spending funds improving our economy, helping those less fortunate, getting homeless people off the streets, rehabilitating addicts and those who need help. Improve the people in the country and the country as a whole is improved

  8. Is this bad

  9. Lucius Chiaraviglio

    The data points in that hot gas giant spectrum start to deviate considerably from the best fit model in the longer wavelength parts of the spectrum. The ones below the best fit model I can understand — something in addition to water is in the gas giant, and they haven’t yet added it to the best fit model — but what about the ones above?

  10. I read that the SMACs image is 2.4 arc minutes wide. Assuming it’s also 2.4 arc minutes tall, I’ve calculated that the area covers about one/one millionths of the sky! My maths is a little shaky, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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