Software Developer Creates Interactive Tool That Compares Space Images From Webb and Hubble Telescopes

The world is buzzing with excitement about space thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). When NASA released the telescope's first images in mid-July, everyone's mind was blown by the results. And while the images are spectacular, we see so much incredible photography these days that sometimes we need to be reminded just how far we've come. That's where the comparisons with the Hubble Space Telescope came in. And while we were busy making GIFs to show the difference, astronomy lover and software developer John Christensen took things to a whole new level.

Christensen, who grew up looking at Hubble photos and watching space documentaries with his father, actually went out and built a tool that makes it easy to compare the two telescopes. By swiping back and forth on WebbCompare, anyone can see the stark difference in quality between Hubble and JWST.

After posting his tool online, he was thrilled with the result. For anyone who thought, “what's the big deal?” when looking at the JWST photos, Christensen's tool clearly gives an answer. What started out as a personal project for Christensen has now turned into something much bigger.

Initially, he was simply trying to see why everyone was making such a big fuss about JWST. “What's different about it?” he wondered. “Why did we spend so much human engineering effort and time and money to create this thing?”

Of course, once the app was coded, he immediately saw the difference. And now, Christensen is thrilled to see that others are enjoying the results as much as he did.

“I think my favorite responses were people saying they showed this interactive to their kids and got their kids very excited about it,” Christenson shares. “That's how I ended up going into science, was kind of being inspired by Hubble images.”

Software developer John Christensen created an interactive tool that shows just why the James Webb Space Telescope is a step above Hubble.

Once he posted WebbCompare online, astronomy lovers everywhere went wild.

WebbCompare: Website 
h/t: [NPR]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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