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NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth

NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth

What Students Can Learn from NASA's Webb Telescope into the Cosmos

July 15, 2022

What Students Can Learn from NASA's Webb Telescope into the Cosmos

Ask Students: Who is interviewed in this piece and what is his background? How many feet in diameter is the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror?

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Summary

NASA shared new revelations Tuesday from the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space observatory ever made. The new images capture distant galaxies, new stars and planets, and the furthest look into the birth of the cosmos ever recorded. For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is interviewed in this piece and what is his background?
  • How many feet in diameter is the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror?
  • Where in the light spectrum does the James Webb Space Telescope look that the Hubble Space Telescope cannot?
  • Why could identification of clouds on an exoplanet be significant?
  • What is an example of a dying star that was captured by the telescope?

Focus Questions

The PBS correspondent said that seeing things that are not known in the James Webb Space Telescope is “exactly what we want to hear.” What does he mean by that? Why is it important for the scientific method to not always be able to identify everything we see?

Media Literacy: Why is Webb’s deputy scientist for communications shown in the video? How does she contribute to the overall idea of the Webb Space Telescope with what she says?

Additional Learning

  1. The speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s. If the James Webb Space Telescope receives an image from a planet that is 1 million miles away (such as Earth), how long will it take to reach the telescope. Hint: 1 meter = 0.000621371 miles. The James Webb Space Telescope is fairly close to Earth and the universe is expanding. What does that tell us about the James Webb Space Telescope’s images? Why might scientists and astronomers say it is like looking into the past?
  2. Read this article that compares photos from the James Webb Space Telescope to the Hubble Space Telescope. Compare and contrast the photographs and their level of detail. Why might it be beneficial to have two space telescopes instead of only one?
  3. Look at this image gallery of the Webb Space Telescope images. What strikes you about the photographs? Can you pick out any nebulae, stars, galaxies or planets? What sections of the images do you not understand?
Image
Image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a revolutionary apparatus designed to peer through the cosmos to the dawn of the universe, released July 12, 2022.

Image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a revolutionary apparatus designed to peer through the cosmos to the dawn of the universe, released July 12, 2022.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More
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