If the fascinating images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope also leave you feeling unsettled by the vastness and mystery of the universe, a Grand Valley cultural anthropologist can explain that feeling based on interviews with astronauts.
Deana Weibel, professor of anthropology, coined the term "ultraview effect" to explain the "transformative sense of incomprehension and a feeling of shrinking" that comes from seeing the cosmos so extensively.
Weibel, who studies how space exploration affects astronauts and their religious beliefs, said astronauts have talked with her about how profoundly they were affected by the immenseness of the universe.
An Apollo astronaut told her he "wasn't ready" for what he saw. This astronaut was on the far side of the moon, in both the shadow of the moon and Earth, when he turned off the lights in the capsule, leading to extreme darkness, Weibel said.