Explosive 'star factory' image marks the James Webb telescope's one-year anniversary of operations

Dec 16, 2022
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The JWST is the closest thing we have to a time machine. The image it captured of NGC 3132, approximately 2500 LY away, captured the light that passed through the Southern Ring Nebula around the time when the Buddha walked around in what we know as India today, and the Hebrews were just about getting ready to abandon the civilized coziness of Babylon. If there would be a way to position an instrument far enough away from Earth putting it 2500 LY into the red shift in an instant, we theoretically could observe human history of the past 2500 years like a reality TV show. In other words, the light that passes Earth's surface from any direction carries images of its history with it. Of course, to assemble coherent images of past events would require a technology that doesn't exist at this time. But, if we can imagine that it could exist some day, it probably will, like a self fulfilling prophecy. Jules Verne imagined machines that came to exist within 100 years. Creating an instrument that can record our own past and position it correctly may take a tad longer.