The James Webb Space Telescope: Six Months of Waiting To See If Perfection Is All It's Cracked Up To Be.

New blog post: How to Follow Webb’s Next Steps

https://blogs.nasa.gov/webb/2022/08/02/how-to-follow-webbs-next-steps/


Cartwheel Galaxy

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You know, looking at the Webb from this angle, it’s halfway through the V’ger process already.

We’re really going to regret that big mirror when the aliens turn it into a planet-killing ray.

Alternately, you could say it’s GPC fused with the Hexfield Viewscreen.

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I’m thinking space hang glider.

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You say that as a joke. But meanwhile, in Crazytown, U.S.A.-

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Is that Space Ator underneath?

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The way the hexagons are grouped reminds me a lot of the game show Blockbusters:

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Twitter: For when you absolutely, positively have to destroy your lifetime career in the blink of an eye.

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:man_facepalming:

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The picture itself looks nothing like a star, but I can see how people might have been fooled by it and the criticism leveled at him is valid. People are already suspicious of science right now. To have someone with that much clout doing that is just poorly thought out.

If it had been April Fools Day, then, he might have got away with it.

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You know, there is “teaching people to think critically,” and then there is “throwing fuel on the fire.” If he had framed it as a question, “Is this a picture from the JWST?” rather than initially stating it as fact, then it would have been a teachable moment rather than an exercise in damage control.

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Exactly. He could have done that in so many ways without being stupid.

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Now we’ll get a whole generation of conspiracy theorists trying to figure out which pieces of charcuterie are being passed off as phony Webb images.

There is no dark side of the moon really. As a matter of fact it’s all a tortilla.

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And you wondered why the Saucisse de Montbéliard budget for ITER was so outrageous!

And here I thought it was all cotija cheese.

:crazy_face:

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I’m suddenly hungry for a taco… :yum:

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I had tortillas last night, rolled up with tuna fish salad in them.

I feel compelled to point out that the scope would never be pointed at Earth’s Moon. And if it ever did the most it would see would be a crescent.

The orbit of the scope is such that the Earth and Moon are always between the scope and the sun. All the fancy heat shields would be rendered useless if they ever turned the scope to look towards the sun. And the scope would only see the shadow sides of the Earth and Moon.

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If only he had used pepperoni and claimed it was a moon. Then he could have followed up with “it hit the Webb’s eye like a big pizza pie”.

Seriously though, leave these kinds of science jokes on the agency’s private email server. The world at large is not the place for them.

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I believe it was a poor but well-intended attempt to warn people to be more aware of the numerous fake images already in circulation. Particularly, there are many popular social media accounts that tend to share science images and memes with false claims attached. (Artist’s renderings and so on being passed off as “new” or “clearest” or “best” image of something it’s totally not an image of. That sort of thing.) Often, the fact that they don’t give proper credit and a link back to the original source is telling (they’ll just say it’s from “NASA” or the Webb or something), but it’s good to learn to look for these things and approach with skepticism instead of just sharing.

Unfortunately, you really need to be careful about how you raise awareness of misinformation. Like the whole “you swallow spiders in your sleep” thing. It was originally from a list made by a professor who was trying to demonstrate how easy it is to spread misinformation online. He made a list of “weird facts” that was a mix of a few real facts with barely plausible nonsense. But it wasn’t long before the list was being circulated widely as entirely true without question, and now it’s just a persistent myth that a bunch of people all over the place believe is true.

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That reminds me of the emails that started 20+ years ago saying Mars was going to be bigger than the moon. And they are still circulating, every time we have a Mars event at the observatory there were be a few that ask what night it’s going to get that big. I’m sure they will start up again this fall.

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Yes! Ever since Mars was at its closest approach to the Earth, this comes up and I wish people would think about it, but they don’t. They swallow astronomical misinformation, assuming that they can’t understand it on their own.

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