James Webb and the pale blue dot

NASA has shared the first images from the James Webb telescope.

This first image shows some of the most distant galaxies we’ve ever seen or studied (overview of the images are here).

“Carina’s Nebula” shows the process of the formation of a star.

“Southern Ring Nebula” shows the gas around a dying star.

“Stephan’s Quintet” shows a compact group of galaxies.

Seeing these images inspired awe and reminded me of Carl Sagan’s note on a view of the Earth in the Milky Way galaxy as a pale blue dot.

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” | Carl Sagan