NASA’s acclaimed $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021 to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. Nearly seven months after launch, images have finally been produced that, according to NASA, represent the deepest images of the universe ever captured!
The images, expected to be released on July 12, 2022, are astonishing and supposedly beautiful enough to almost bring NASA astrophysicist (Thomas Zurbuchen) to tears. The hard work has paid off, with the JWST poised to show us a whole new perspective on space, and an expanded look at the universe like we’ve never seen it before.
With the coolest camera array in the solar system, we all had a taste of the very first photos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope (opens in new tab) in April, in the form of tester images, where it was compared in quality to the now-retired Spitzer space telescope first launched in 2003.
Technology has made great strides since then, and its improved detail and sharpness technical test images (opens in new tab) were possible thanks to the JWST’s large (7x larger than the Spitzer) segmented honeycomb mirrors, which totaled 21.5 ft in length.
However, these latest expected images (about 10-20 predicted) would be so beautiful that Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was almost moved to tears when he first saw them, as stated in a recent press conference.
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According to Zurbuchen, the telescope’s first color photos would provide a “new worldview” in the cosmos. deeply personal.” He shares, “It’s an emotional moment when you suddenly see nature releasing some of her secrets, and I’d like you to envision and look forward to it.”
The most powerful telescope and space observatory ever launched into space, the JWST is primarily designed to perform infrared astronomy and capture the faintest light in the universe, from the first-generation stars and galaxies, which span over 13.8 were first formed during the Big Bang billion years ago.
Since its December launch, the JWST has managed to unfold origami style and get into position where it will remain for the course of its mission, through 2028, and it has also successfully aligned all of its segmented mirrors in place. , 18 in total.
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By observing the past and looking beyond the rays of light that have yet to reach us, the images produced by the JWST will likely surpass the previous Hubble Space Telescope Ultra Deep Field survey image that captured nearly ten thousand galaxies, with the oldest visible. dating back to about 800 million years after the Big Bang. With a much larger primary mirror, the JWST is capable of much greater detection of invisible light penetrated by infrared waves.
Scientists plan to use the JWST to peer into the atmospheres of other worlds, looking for signs of possible life or habitability in the form of ammonia, water and methane gas traces and other biosignature discoveries. A golden age soon to come in our understanding of the wider universe, this could be just the tip of the iceberg of what NASA has up its sleeve, talking about exoplanet spectrum studies.
NASA’s Deputy Administrator, Pam Melroy, has stated, “What I have seen has moved me, as a scientist, as an engineer and as a human being.” If this expected image from NASA next week lives up to the current hype, we’ll be pretty excited.
Join the fellow astronomers, scientists, engineers, astrophotographers and virtually the entire world who are intrigued by the possibilities and potential of what this new golden age of space imaging means for the evolving understanding of our universe, and be sure to set calendars for Wednesday, July 12, 2022.
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Watch the JWST image countdown (opens in new tab) landing page pending the first light release, and get live updates by visiting the official YouTube channel, NASA TV (opens in new tab)for a continuous live stream.
Once released one by one on July 12, 2022, the new images captured by the JWST will be available to view at NASA’s website (opens in new tab) and will be made available on social media at the same time. You can also see these images revealed via a real-time television broadcast at 10:30 a.m. EST and listen to NASA experts in the live stream taking place on NASA TV’s YouTube channel, scheduled for the same time.
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