The James Webb telescope finally released its first image today and it is the most detailed, deep infrared picture of the universe ever taken according to NASA.
Originally planned in the 1990s and launched just last year, the road to this first image was both a long and challenging one. As we have covered on this blog, the challenges remained right up until the present day with calibration issues and even a tiny meteorite impact.
Still, it was undoubtedly worth it as James Webb delivers a new view of the universe that is more detailed than ever before. Providing a view of galaxies upon galaxies on a field of void, the first picture is as magical as NASA promised it would be and much more.
And as impressive as the image is, it is only a “slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.”
“The image shows the 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. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.”
NASA also announced more images on the way and, frankly, we can’t wait to see them. Until then, this first picture (viewable over at NASA at this link) will keep us more than satisfied in the meantime.
We’d love to know your thoughts on the first James Webb telescope picture released so far in the comments below.
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