‘Blown away’: FSU Astrophysics professor believes Webb Telescope pictures will lead to years of discoveries

A future of endless space exploration is ahead of us, according to FSU Astrophysics Prof. Jeremiah Murphy.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A crowd watching a NASA livestream at the Challenger Learning Center Tuesday morning audibly gasped as stunning vistas from deep space were beamed to the IMAX screen in front of them.

NASA fan Isiah Taylor said he had been following the development of the James Webb Space Telescope for years and said it was worth the wait.

“I was blown away, I’ve never seen detail of space images like that before,” he said.

Challenger Learning Center employee Tiffany Machin said she was encouraged by humanity’s accomplishments.

”It was extremely heartwarming, it really touched on human achievement and all we can do,” she said.

But for someone like FSU Astrophysics professor Jeremiah Murphy, who has spent a career studying the cosmos, Tuesday’s reveal by NASA marked an incredible moment that was never guaranteed.

“I had tears in my eyes looking at some of those spectacular images,” he said.

After releasing a sneak peek Monday, NASA released four more photos from the new infrared telescope. One captures a star’s fiery final years. Another features the Carina Nebula in astounding detail.

“This is really going to change the way we see the universe. In particular, we’ll see how the first stars and galaxies were formed after the Big Bang,” Murphy said. “The infrared telescope allows you to peer deep into that gas and dust and see those stars just being born and planets just being born.”

Perhaps the most exciting part of it all: These photos are just the beginning.

A committee reviews proposals for what to study with the Webb Telescope. Murphy said he and other colleagues at FSU have submitted ideas, with some earning approval.

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