Hundreds watch new space footage at Sac State Planetarium

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento State University Planetarium welcomed hundreds of visitors on Tuesday to view new images captured by the James Webb Telescope.

The free event drew visitors of all ages who cheered as planetarium director Kyle Watters unveiled each image, according to Sacramento State.

“Our universe is truly huge and wonderful,” Watters said in the press release.

Watters described to visitors the images they saw on the planetarium’s 2,500 square foot dome.

He showed guests images of Stephan’s Quintet, which is a cluster of galaxies, the South Ring Nebula which featured a dying star, and atmospheric readings of WASP-96b, a planet orbiting a distant star.

The James Webb Telescope was launched on December 24, 2021 and orbits the sun 1 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit. NASA is partnering with Sacramento State to show images captured by the telescope.

Sacramento State said it would study every phase of cosmic history by collecting light from the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang. Its infrared range peers through dust and gas, allowing scientists to explore new territory.

According to Watters, the Webb telescope will continue to bring new information over the next 20 years.

Arline J. Mercier