Pandora’s Cluster: Webb Publishes Another New View of the Cosmos

Astronomers estimate 50,000 sources of near-infrared light are represented in this image from nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope. Their light has traveled through varying distances to reach the telescope’s detectors, representing the vastness of space in a single image.
NASA, ESA, CSA, I. Labbe (Swinburne University of Technology) and R. Bezanson (University of Pittsburgh). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Pandora’s Cluster: Webb Publishes Another New View of the Cosmos

Nasa released a deep-field image of Pandora’s Cluster on February 15, providing a new look at the early universe. The image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows three clusters of galaxies merging.

Gravity bends light, meaning that huge masses can act as a magnifying glass. Concentrate enough mass in one place and it creates a “gravitation lens”—distorting and magnifying distant objects. With the three clusters of galaxies close together, the Pandora Cluster is an excellent lens.

The problem is that it’s also a very dirty lens. Previous pictures have been clouded by massive clouds of gas. But Webb has excellent infrared detectors—allowing it to see straight through the clouds. Combined with its large mirror—twice the size of Hubble’s—it is able to take pictures much clearer than any before.

The result is another, exceptional look at the distant universe. The light from these galaxies has been traveling to Earth for billions of years—meaning it’s also a look at the early universe. Astronomer Rachel Bezanson from the University of Pittsburgh was thrilled with how the new images turned out.

When the images of Pandora’s Cluster first came in from Webb, we were honestly a little starstruck. There was so much detail in the foreground cluster and so many distant lensed galaxies, I found myself getting lost in the image. Webb exceeded our expectations.
—Rachel Bezanson

Astronomer Ivo Labbé of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne was also thrilled with their clarity:

Pandora’s Cluster, as imaged by Webb, shows us a stronger, wider, deeper, better lens than we have ever seen before. My first reaction to the image was that it was so beautiful, it looked like a galaxy formation simulation. We had to remind ourselves that this was real data, and we are working in a new era of astronomy now.

Webb’s photographs have already shown that early galaxies look very different from how theories such as big bang and stella evolution say they should. As these latest pictures are analyzed, they could unveil more unexpected details.

The image strings together four separate snapshots of a region of space dubbed “Pandora’s Cluster” into a single panorama, with exposures for each segment lasting 4 to 6 hours. All in all, the image took 30 hours to craft.

nasa’s article about its latest deep-field image stated: “Astronomers aimed to achieve a balance of breadth and depth that will open up a new frontier in the study of cosmology and galaxy evolution.”

That’s a disappointing response to this image, because so much of the James Webb Space Telescope points to God. It points us to a universe that observes set laws—so much so that we can spend $10 billion developing a space telescope to travel 1 million miles from Earth and be confident that it will work. It points us to an Almighty Lawgiver. It points us to a great Creator, who works on a scale we simply cannot imagine, showing us a universe full of beauty and order that could not have happened simply by chance. And it points us to the future God promises for mankind out in the universe—something Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry discussed in his latest Key of David video.

“The ancient myth of Pandora is about human curiosity and discoveries that delineate the past from the future, which I think is a fitting connection to the new realms of the universe Webb is opening up, including this deep-field image of Pandora’s Cluster,” said Bezanson. The name may well be fitting. Pandora’s box let loose all kinds of suffering, but gave one great gift to mankind—hope. This photo of Pandora’s Cluster lets loose no evil. But in focusing us on our Creator, and giving mankind a better look at his future, it brings the same gift.

The Bible gives us a detailed picture of this hope. It actually reveals that you have a role in the cosmos! To learn more about it, read Our Awesome Universe Potential.