Editorial: Galaxies beyond Milky Way

·2 min read

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) recently released the first images of galaxies captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JSWT), and these were shared by news sites and on social media, captivating people who watched them.

One of the images delivered by the space-based telescope, said Nasa, was its “deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.” It was of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, which includes thousands of galaxies. The image was the very first image released by the United States space agency on Monday, July 11, 2022.

The image of SMACS 0723 is a wonder to behold because the dots and the other shapes seem small but in reality each shape is a galaxy itself.

Science writer Shannon Stirone wrote in the New York Times that “viewing images” of galaxies “can also provide a profound sense of insignificance—they offer a sense of proportion and understanding of just how small we are on the grand scale.”

JSWT, wrote Stirone, “has ushered in a new era of [space] exploration,” and it “has many missions, but perhaps most notably it will stare out into space to look for evidence of life.”

The universe is a vast expanse of curiosity–the human mind can only imagine it but it can never fathom it.

To also think that the Milky Way, the galaxy where the Solar System belongs, is the center of the universe is egoistic in cosmic proportion. It is just one of the discovered and undiscovered galaxies.

Despite the advancement of human technologies, the universe is still a mystery. With each new discovery comes another mystery, another question: Is there anybody out there? To answer this question with certainty but without proof is futile, meaningless.

In the meantime, the world awaits more images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

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