Tuesday, August 9, 2022

NASA’s Webb Telescope releases the first image, revealing ancient galaxies

Webb's first deep field.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. On the mission to solve mysteries in our solar system, NASA’s Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.

President Joe Biden unveiled the first image from NASA’s Webb Telescope. The image showcases galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. This image is known as Webb’s First Deep Field. 

This is the first time that thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects, have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said“Webb’s First Deep Field is not only the first full-color image from the James Webb Space Telescope, but it’s also the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe. This image covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. It’s just a tiny sliver of the vast universe.”

“This mission was made possible by human ingenuity – the incredible NASA Webb team and our international partners at the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Webb is just the start of what we can accomplish in the future when we work together for the benefit of humanity.”

This deep field – captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam)- is a composite of images collected at various wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours. This allowed for infrared depths greater than those reached by the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks to capture.

President Biden released this first full-color image from Webb during a public event at the White House in Washington. This first image showcases the powerful capabilities of the Webb mission, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

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