‘What a time to be alive’: Local physics professor weighs in on James Webb Space Telescope

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Images are coming in from NASA’s James Webb Telescope, and local University of Guelph physics professor Jason “Orbax the Great” Thomas says these images offer us a deep look at the cosmos.


“There’s light from 13 billion years ago,” said Thomas. “It blows my mind.”


Galaxy cluster SMACS-0273 is the first image revealed from NASA’s 10-billion dollar telescope.


“If you were to hold a grain of sand out at your arm’s length and hold it up in the sky, that’s the window we’re looking at,” said Thomas. “That’s the pocket of the universe that we see, and there’s that much more universe to explore.”


Thomas said the first few images are only the beginning of what the telescope is capable of uncovering.


“It gives us images that we might not have seen before, information that previously might have been scattered that we might not have seen,” said Thomas.


“What we are seeing are galaxies, stars, planets, nebula, space dust,” said Thomas. “We’re seeing everything that’s out there.”


Thomas says by continuing to observe distant galaxies could solve mysteries, like the origins of our universe and our place in it.


He adds that we’re trying to find potential planets that would be habitable to life and planets that might have had life.


NASA has also released images of “Stephan’s Quintet,” a view of five tightly grouped galaxies, a black hole and “Carina Nebula,” a shot of where stars are born.


Thomas says the telescope also carries spectrometers, which helps scientists study other planets such as “WASP-96b” a giant gas planet that showed water vapour in the atmosphere.

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