National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released the much taunted first colour images from the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The images are said to be the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far, and it contain photos of the farthest view of the universe. The images released contains photos of lights originating from far away galaxies – lights that have traveled billions of years before getting to us.
“Today, we present humanity with a groundbreaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before. These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, said.
The first image was first unveiled in a meeting held in the White House yesterday, where NASA administrator Bill Nelson, met with President Joe Biden.
Among the images taken by JWST include what is known as SMACS 0723 (full name SMACS J0723.3-7327). Photos of SMAC 0723 was first taken by the Hubble telescope which shows a deep field of galaxies with some of the furthest known objects. With James Webb’s powerful mirrors, the group of galaxies are now better seen.
When compared with Hubble telescope, James Webb is super powerful, and in does in 12.5 hours, what takes Hubble telescope weeks to perform, and it comes with much details and clarity.
Aside the SMAC 0723, other first colour images taken by James Webb covers these areas:
The Carina Nebula is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky, located approximately 7,600 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Nebulae are stellar nurseries where stars form. The Carina Nebula is home to many massive stars, several times larger than the Sun.
Southern Ring Nebula
The Southern Ring, or “Eight-Burst” nebula, is a planetary nebula. It is an expanding cloud of gas, surrounding a dying star. It is nearly half a light-year in diameter and is located approximately 2,000 light-years away from Earth.
Located at about 290 million light-years away, Stephan’s Quintet is in the constellation Pegasus. It is notable for being the first compact galaxy group ever discovered in 1877. Four of the five galaxies within the quintet are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters.
WASP-96 b (spectrum)
This is a giant planet outside our solar system, and it is composed mainly of gas. The planet, located nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth, orbits its star every 3.4 days. It has about half the mass of Jupiter, and its discovery was announced in 2014.
About James Webb
James Webb was launched on Christmas day of 2021, and cost $10 billion to build. It is the most powerful space telescope ever built, and is capable of gazing back into the first light that marked the creation of the universe, right after the Big Bang, which happened approximately 13 billion years ago.
JWST has spent about 7 months in space, calibrating its hardware and taking position at the edge of the galaxy. Webb is a result of collaborative effort between NASA, Europe Space Agency, and Canadian Space Agency.
More photos can be seen here.