What you Need to Know

Details on the how, where and why of finding Webb images on the internet as well as information on the Webb specific diffraction spikes seen on stars in Webb images, how Webb images are made and more.

Where do I Find Webb Science Images?

Start with the Webb Image galleries on this site and the Webb Science Image News articles here. Then branch out to other sources listed below which are predominantly repeats though some sites offer additional views, resolutions or image products. The images on this site are official NASA released, peer reviewed science.


Latest Images : the most recent images in reverse chronological order.

More Webb Images: Images by year as well as Webb's very first images and more.

NASA Webb News : Webb science image feature articles appear in our news stream approximately weekly - go there to not only see the images but read the full story on each.

Webb Blog (offsite) : Webb science images/spectra occasionally appear here that are not yet peer reviewed and therefore not covered by NASA News feature articles. Often co-authored by scientists and engineers, blog posts have a less formal insiders point of view.

Webb FLICKR (Offsite) : 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 1st Images | Engineering
Our WebbTelescope FLICKR channel contains the full set of Webb's latest NASA published  images and spectra with brief descriptions and access to various downloadable resolutions.

STScI / WebbTelescope.Org Images: (Offsite) : In Depth- All Images/Products/Detailed Info – Space Telescope Science Institute is where raw Webb data is turned into Webb Science images. Access to all versions including the highest resolution print and uncompressed PNG versions of the latest NASA Published Webb images and spectra including multiple views from various Webb instruments and filters, detailed descriptions, meta-data, uncompressed high resolution image downloads, related products and more.

ESA's Webb Gallery  (Offsite) :   we often highlight ESA’s picture of the month. You can visit ESA’s Webb Gallery as an alternative source of Webb imagery and information. ESA has an extensive Webb gallery with access to various download resolutions, side by side draggable comparisons of various instruments and missions versions of some images and more.

Webb Social Media : X InstagramFacebook Youtube

Webb Images
The background is mostly dark. At the center is a dark orange-brown circle, surrounded by several blazing bright, thick, horizontal whiteish rings. This is Saturn and its rings. There are three tiny dots in the image—one to the upper left of the planet, one to the direct left of the planet, and the lower left of the planet. These are three of Saturn’s moons: Dione, Enceladus, and Tethys, respectively. There is a slightly darker tint at the northern and southern poles of the planet. The rings surrounding Saturn are mostly broad, with a few singular narrow gaps between the broader rings. There is an innermost, thicker ring, and next to that is a brighter, wider ring. Traveling farther outward, there is a small dark gap before another thicker ring. In the thicker ring, there is a narrow faint band. There is then an outermost, faintest, thinnest ring.
A slice of the original image. Webb took its first near-infrared look at Saturn on June 25. The planet appears extremely dark at this wavelength, as methane gas in its atmosphere absorbs sunlight, but its rings stay bright! This image was taken as part of a Webb science program designed to test the telescope’s capacity to detect faint moons around the planet and study its bright rings. Take a closer look here to find details within the planet's ring system, as well as the moons Dione, Enceladus, and Tethys. Saturn’s rings are made up of an array of rocky and icy fragments – the particles range in size from smaller than a grain of sand to a few as large as mountains on Earth.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Matt Tiscareno (SETI Institute), Matt Hedman (University of Idaho), Maryame El Moutamid (Cornell University), Mark Showalter (SETI Institute), Leigh Fletcher (University of Leicester), Heidi Hammel (AURA). Image processing: J. DePasquale (STScI)

Why are some Webb images on the internet not available on NASA websites?


SHORT ANSWER: 
NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI generally only publish scientifically peer reviewed results. Exception: We occasionally post exceptional images/science on our Webb blog that are "pre-print" (still in peer review process).

DETAILS: Investigators from all over the world use Webb everyday to capture images and spectra.

Webb images, spectra, and resulting findings go through scientific peer-review BEFORE being released on NASA/STScI websites and social media.
However, Webb investigators sometimes post "preprint" versions of their papers on NON-NASA/STScI websites and social media before the full science peer-review process is complete.

In general, you will NOT find these "preprint" images/spectra/findings on NASA/STScI websites and social media therefore you must look for them (and related high-resolution images and meta-data) on the publishing institution's websites and social media.

Occasionally NASA and STScI in collaboration with the science community, may publish some exceptional "preprint" images/spectra/findings and they will be labelled as such.

More Detail: Webb's Scientific Method
The Eagle Nebula, also called M16, and often referred to as the "Pillars of Creation." Here, tall columns of gray gas and dust emerge from the bottom edge of the image, stretching toward our upper right. Backed by dark orange mist, the cloudy gray columns are surrounded by dozens of soft, glowing, pink and purple dots; massive stars emitting enormous amounts of X-rays. The shapes, hints of movement, and colors in this composite rendering create a dream-like image. The misty orange background suggests a dusky sky, and the glowing pink and purple stars resemble fireflies. Churning with turbulent gas and dust, the columns lean to our right with small offshoots pointing in the same direction. These details evoke an image of yearning cloud creatures at dusk, pointing at something just out of frame.
A slice of the original image that combines X-ray, infrared, and optical data from various missions. These gorgeous views showcase star cluster NGC 346, spiral galaxies NGC 1672 and Messier 74, and the Pillars of Creation (Eagle Nebula) in ways we could never see with just our eyes. The composite images here combine data from the Webb, Chandra, Hubble, Spitzer, XMM-Newton, and ESO telescopes. Learn more about what each image shows: s.si.edu/chandrawebb2 View variations of this image by wavelength here: chandra.si.edu/photo/2023/chandrawebb2/more.html
Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO, XMM: ESA/XMM-Newton; IR: JWST: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI, Spitzer: NASA/JPL/CalTech; Optical: Hubble: NASA/ESA/STScI, ESO; Image Processing: L. Frattare, J. Major, and K. Arcand

Why do Webb Image Resolutions Vary?

Some images are mosaics of many images, others are subsets of a single image cropping a small section of the field of view during a particular instrument mode.

NASA/STScI Webb Images are always released at the highest resolution available based on the intrinsic resolution of the specific science image.
Image sizes and resolutions vary, sometimes dramatically, because some science images are mosaics assembled from many individual images whereas others maybe a specific astronomical object cropped from a single image possibly via the specific instrument mode employed.

Mosaic Example: Carina Nebula (offsite)
Total mosaic width 14575px by 8441px high - multiple NIRCam images assembled to create the image.

Crop/Masked Example: Exoplanet HIP65426b (offsite)
Four views of the exoplanet with different filters, each using coronagraph masks resulting in each exoplanet image ~350px wide arranged together into a ~1500px wide overall four panel image.

On this website, we will supply images/links to view the largest available image up to 4k pixel resolution. For resolutions greater than that, up to the full uncompressed versions of images, visit the STScI / WebbTelescope.Org (offsite)  archive. But note, in some cases as noted above, there may not be a higher resolution image available.

Resolution Deep Dive: The maximum resolution of Webb's instrument detector arrays and instrument modes used for any particular observation determine maximum resolutions in non-mosaic images. For a deep dive into the details see :
Webb's NIRCam Field of View (offsite)
Webb's NIRCam Detectors (offsite)

Deep Dive-Webb's Field of View (offsite)
A crowded field of galaxies is interspersed with bright 8-pointed stars on a dark background. The galaxies and stars come in a variety of sizes and colors, ranging from bluish white to orange. Some galaxies are large enough to make out spiral arms, while others look like faint smudges or pinpricks. The most prominent feature is a large, detailed spiral galaxy called LEDA 2046648, seen at an oblique angle towards the bottom of the frame. A smaller spiral galaxy is just below it. About one-quarter the size of its larger companion, this small galaxy looks like a miniature version of LEDA 2046648. Both of these spiral galaxies have glowing cores and areas of star formation lighting up their pale pink arms.
Taken during instrument calibration, this image helped test Webb's ability to dig up galactic "fossils." Ancient galaxies are so far that as space expands, their light has stretched into infrared wavelengths — Webb's specialty. Did that large spiral galaxy towards the bottom of the image catch your eye? Named LEDA 2046648, it’s a little over a billion light-years from Earth and located in the constellation Hercules. Using images such as this one, scientists can compare galactic “dinosaurs” with modern galaxies. In turn, this helps us learn more about how galaxies evolve — making Webb the ultimate space paleontologist. Read more and download here: esawebb.org/images/potm2301a/
ESA/Webb, NASA and CSA, A. Martel.
A slice of the original image ... Horizontal orange cloud known as Herbig-Haro 46/47, with a central yellow-white blob pierced by red diffraction spikes. A surrounding nebula is seen as a delicate, semi-transparent blue haze. The background is filled with stars and galaxies.
A slice of the orginal image... NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a tightly bound pair of actively forming stars, known as Herbig-Haro 46/47, in high-resolution near-infrared light. Look for them at the center of the red diffraction spikes, appearing as an orange-white splotch. Herbig-Haro 46/47 is an important object to study because it is relatively young – only a few thousand years old. Star systems take millions of years to fully form. Targets like this give researchers insight into how much mass stars gather over time, potentially allowing them to model how our own Sun, which is a low-mass star, formed – along with its planetary system.
NASA, ESA, CSA. Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

Webb's Diffraction Spikes

Bright stars stand out in Webb images with their eight sharply defined diffraction spikes.  In the linked infographic and transcript, the science behind Webb's diffraction spikes is explained (credit: STScI).


How are Webb Images Made?

Images don't come down from Webb in the beautiful full color renderings you see on this website and elsewhere. Someone has to translate the raw black and white image data into the color, especially since Webb collects light that falls outside of human vision. That’s where people like Joe DePasquale and Alyssa Pagan of the Space Telescope Science Institute come in. Learn how they makes choices about color and other aspects of space images.

Note: the following video embed is a playlist, to access all videos in the list, click on the 3 bar icon in upper right.

What is Webb Observing Next?

JWST science observations are nominally scheduled in weekly increments. Planned schedules will be posted as they are made available. Since the schedules do not take into account unforeseen events, including some target of opportunity observations, it is possible that the actual executed observations will differ from those planned.