AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new image of the cosmos took centerstage in Tuesday’s South by Southwest keynote address. NASA revealed the new striking photos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope at Austin Convention Center’s Hall D presentation.
NASA’s Laura Betz led the panel called “Unfold The Universe: NASA’s Webb Space Telescope.” Panelists included Knicole Colon, Macarena Garcia Marin, Stefanie Milam and Amber Straughn.
The new image revealed was of the Wolf-Rayet star. In the image, a star shines light on a cloud of “stardust” as it explodes out of the star. “That dust is spreading out to the cosmos and will create planets,” Straughn said.
“This one is 30 times the mass of our sun,” Marin said. As the star explodes, it ejects a cloud of dust. “When it cools down, we get dust.” This dust glows in infrared light.
Betz said this image is just one of many released.
Others included images of Jupiter and its surrounding moons, the atmospheres of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system), galaxies and deep-field pictures of the universe.
According to Betts, Webb is “working better than expected.” Straughn said the galaxies Webb is observing are much brighter than expected. “These galaxies grew really fast and really big. We don’t know why.”
The panel discussed the impact Webb has had on each other and the world in general. Straughn spoke on the positive inspiration the images were during a tough year. “Astronomy is good,” she said.
“The unknown unknowns is what I’m most excited about with Webb,” Milam said.
The Webb Space Telescope launched on Dec. 25, 2021. The telescope uses infrared light to observe the universe. Panelists said it is “the largest and most complex space telescope ever built.” It can see further than any other space telescope.
Other 2023 keynote addresses include Chef Jose Andres, Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and a performance by 1980s punk band New Order.