The New York TimesThe New York Times

The Lonely Work of Picking the Universe's Best Astronomy Pictures

By Joshua Sokol

13 Jul 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

Read this NYT story to know how scientists have been at work selecting the right images from the James Webb Space Telescope since June.

BALTIMORE — After the image flashes up on the projector, a few quiet beats tick by, punctuated only by a soft “wow.” Everyone is processing.

Then more “wows” bubble out, and people are talking over one another, laughing. Suddenly two astronomers, Amaya Moro-Martin and Karl Gordon, are out of their chairs, sticking their noses closer to the space fantasia onscreen, agog — “It’s a jet! This is full of jets!” — at the crisp, hallucinatory grandeur of new stars sprouting from a nebula like seeds from a flower bed.

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