The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) continues to prove itself. On July 12, NASA and the European Space Agency released the first five images of the JWST.
They included: the Carina Nebula; Stephan’s Quintet; the Southern Ring Nebula; WASP-96b; and SMACS 0723. The Carina Nebula is a young star-forming region located about 7,600 light-years away.
Stephan’s Quintet is a group of five galaxies – four interact with each other. The four are about 290 million light-years away, and the fifth about 40 million light-years from Earth.
The South Ring Nebula is the remnant of an exploded star and is about 2,500 light-years from Earth.
WASP-96 b is an exoplanet about 1,150 light-years away. Webb discovered the existence of water vapor in its atmosphere.
SMACS 0723 is a cluster of galaxies 4.5 billion light-years away. The image is packed with thousands of galaxies and depicts an area of sky the size of a grain of sand stretched out at arm’s length. This image was released on July 11 by President Biden during an event at the White House.
You can see these images at nasa.gov/webbfirstimages.
Morning sky: All of the planetary action pretty much continues in the morning skies this month. Venus, Mars, Jupiter are all visible before sunrise throughout the month. Saturn reaches opposition mid-month, which means it rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, becoming an evening object. Watch the Moon catch up and pass each planet during the month, see below for dates.
evening sky: Saturn becomes an evening object in mid-August. You might catch Mercury very low in the west after sunset towards the end of the month. An optical aid will help you. Watch the Moon pass in front of some bright stars, see below for dates.
1st: Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn form a line in the morning sky before sunrise throughout the month.
3rd: Moon near bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden in the evening sky.
6th: Moon near the bright star Antares, “Rival of Mars”, in Scorpio in the evening sky.
6th: Free Tallahassee Astronomical Society planetarium show, “August Skies over Tallahassee”, at the Downtown Digital Dome Theater and the Challenger Learning Center Planetarium (not recommended for children under 5). Doors close at 10 a.m. sharp. Masks strongly recommended.
11th: Full Moon near Saturn.
12th – 13th: Perseid meteor shower. The Moon will eliminate most meteors.
14: Saturn reaches opposition by becoming an evening object.
15th: Moon near Jupiter in the morning sky.
18: Venus near the Beehive star cluster in the morning sky.
19: The last quarter Moon joins Mars near the Pleiades star cluster in the morning sky.
20: Moon near Aldebaran in Leo the Lion in the morning sky.
23: The Moon forms a triangle with Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins in the morning sky.
24: The Moon forms a line with Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins in the morning sky.
25th: Crescent Moon near Venus in the morning sky.
30 : Moon near bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden in the evening sky.
Ken Kopczynski is president of the Tallahassee Astronomical Society, a local group of amateur astronomers.
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