The Best Memes About the Webb Space Telescope Images
A popular internet meme fomenting a rivalry between images of the James Webb and Hubble space telescopes (via Twitter)
With awe and wonderment, we witnessed the release of the first images by the James Webb Space Telescope last week, the deepest and sharpest yet of our ever-unfolding universe. Capturing galaxies billions of light-years away, they left many of us mind-blown and humbled.
But those stunning images can also puzzle us and test the limits of human cognition. For example, how can we possibly grasp NASA’s assessment that many millions of galaxies existed in an area of sky that would be the “size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length” to a person standing on Earth? What should we do with this knowledge? And how can we implement it in our daily lives? Has it stopped any of the meaningless wars waged around the globe? No, it hasn’t. Has it made us more conscious of the urgency to protect our precious little planet? Maybe it did for some, but not for all. Has it even stopped your endless bickering with your partner (can’t you see you love each other?) I doubt it.
That’s where I think Internet memes come into the picture: They help us mentally and psychologically process these revelations about our place in the universe using humanity’s best survival tool — humor. And as expected, the release of the Webb Telescope’s first images prompted an outpouring of memes. Here’s how the Twittersphere responded to worlds far beyond Earth’s stratosphere.
Many of the memes made fun of the lo-def images of the 1990 Hubble Space Telescope, the OG of deep space telescopes. How ungrateful of them.
I waited aost a decade to make this meme. #JWST #hubble #JWST_HST_SciVI #NASA #NASAWebb #JamesWebbSpaceTelescope #Web3 pic.twitter.com/SVbNUYdWEg— Panini_Singam (@panini_singam) July 11, 2022
And of course, we have some art historical references, including Salvador Dalí and Vincent Van Gogh:
Same energy. pic.twitter.com/DBNIPyQFx5— Andy Howell (@d_a_howell) July 12, 2022
I cannot stop staring at this picture from the James Webb telescope, just gorgeous pic.twitter.com/Vhf2hzffc8— Sean Tuffy (@SMTuffy) July 12, 2022
We are the universe, and the universe is us, as demonstrated in this meme:
i zoomed out and guess what pic.twitter.com/aIWKcCY7ND— The Birdist (@TheBirdist) July 11, 2022
This might be my favorite one:
I knew I'd seen that #JWST image somewhere before. pic.twitter.com/c3hO2cQzmu— Darcy DeClute (Scrumtuous Inc) (@scrumtuous) July 13, 2022
Another one in the same vein, though less successful:
it’s here–the deepest, sharpest infrared view of the universe to date pic.twitter.com/ne4MRQRpx9— vipin (@djfrankkie) July 13, 2022
I don’t know the character hiding in this nebula, but it sure is freaky:
Oh no JWST what have you done pic.twitter.com/00By3zKE2f— Bram De Buyser (@chton) July 12, 2022
What the Webb telescope images taught us about human behavior:
First image from James Webb Space Telescope is beautiful #memes https://t.co/m8lHHoXeFe pic.twitter.com/uKqRzGZPUL— Memes (@r_memes_) July 12, 2022
Yes! Somebody finally said it:
pic.twitter.com/J2HQXWwU8H— Arey Arey (@areyareydotcom) July 13, 2022
Our Publisher Veken Gueyikian, a proud nerd, informed me that this next one is based on a classic scene from the 1978 Superman movie depicting the banishment of General Zod to the “phantom zone.”
An amazing photo from the James Webb telescope. pic.twitter.com/tyctEszP9D— Rocketgirl (@Rocket_Grrrl) July 12, 2022
Some other memes reacted to the global conversation surrounding the Webb telescope images, which NASA knew very well how to hype:
What opening the Internet looks like today… and it’s amazing #UnfoldTheUniverse pic.twitter.com/7vMVBatdPO— Kate (@katebomb) July 12, 2022
This, I believe, is a joke about infrared technology, which is what the James Webb telescope used, versus X-ray:
When everyone is in hype for the #JWST images but you are an X-ray Astronomer! pic.twitter.com/fyFhe2A6TU— Alessia Tortosa (@Alaexya) July 14, 2022