Pillars of Creation (MIRI Image) | Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Pagan (STScI)

As Christmas approached last year, astronomers and space fans around the globe gathered to watch the much-anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Though a wondrous piece of engineering, the telescope was not without its controversies — from being way over budget and behind schedule to being named after a former NASA administrator who has been accused of homophobia.

Despite the debates over the telescope’s naming and history, one thing has become abundantly clear this year — the scientific ability of JWST is remarkable. Beginning its science operations in July 2022, it has already allowed astronomers to get new views and uncover mysteries about a huge range of space topics.

The most pressing aim of JWST is one of the most…

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