First image from $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is the farthest humanity has ever seen in both time and distance and will be followed with four more images on Tuesday.
NASA has released the first image from its new space telescope, offering the deepest view of the universe ever captured.
The first image from James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful observatory ever placed in orbit, unveiled on Monday, is brimming with galaxies and offers the deepest look of the cosmos ever captured.
The first image from the $10 billion telescopes is the farthest humanity has ever seen in both time and distance, closer to the dawn of time and the edge of the universe.
That image will be followed on Tuesday by the release of four more galactic beauty shots from the telescope's initial outward gazes.
The "deep field" image released at a White House event is filled with lots of stars, with massive galaxies in the foreground and faint and extremely distant galaxies peeking through here and there.
"We’re going to give humanity a new view of the cosmos," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters last month in a briefing. "And it’s a view that we’ve never seen before."
The images on tap for Tuesday include a view of a giant gaseous planet outside our solar system, two images of a nebula where stars are born and die in spectacular beauty and an update of a classic image of five tightly clustered galaxies that dance around each other.
👀 Sneak a peek at the deepest & sharpest infrared image of the early universe ever taken — all in a day’s work for the Webb telescope. (Literally, capturing it took less than a day!) This is Webb’s first image released as we begin to #UnfoldTheUniverse: https://t.co/tlougFWg8B pic.twitter.com/Y7ebmQwT7j— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) July 11, 2022
'Webb can see backward in time'
The world’s biggest and most powerful space telescope rocketed away last December from French Guiana in South America.
It reached its lookout point 1.6 million kilometres from Earth in January.
Then the lengthy process began to align the mirrors, get the infrared detectors cold enough to operate and calibrate the science instruments, all protected by a sunshade the size of a tennis court that keeps the telescope cool.
The plan is to use the telescope to peer back so far that scientists will get a glimpse of the early days of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago and zoom in on closer cosmic objects, even our own solar system, with a sharper focus.
Webb is considered the successor to the highly successful, but aging Hubble Space Telescope.
Hubble has stared as far back as 13.4 billion years. It found the light wave signature of an extremely bright galaxy in 2016. Astronomers measure how far back they look in light-years with one light-year being 9.3 trillion kilometers.
"Webb can see backward in time to just after the Big Bang [a theory that says the Universe was born about 13.7 billion years ago in a massive expansion] by looking for galaxies that are so far away that the light has taken many billions of years to get from those galaxies to our telescopes," said Jonathan Gardner, Webb’s deputy project scientist said during the media briefing.