NASA shared the images and release spectroscopic data during a live broadcast at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 12.
The deepest and brightest infrared image of the early cosmos ever captured, dating back 13 billion years, has been unveiled by the James Webb Space Telescope, the most potent observatory ever launched into orbit, NASA explained.
The stunning shot is overflowing with thousands of galaxies and features the faintest objects ever observed, colorized from infrared to blue, orange, and white tones.
? 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
The new images have caused significant existential experiences for the few scientists who have seen a sneak peek, and some have been moved to tears.
“It’s an emotional moment when you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science missions. “It’s not an image. It’s a new worldview.”
It is the farthest humanity has ever seen in both time and distance, closer to the dawn of time and the edge of the universe, with part of the image showing light from soon after the Big Bang.
On Christmas morning almost six months ago, the telescope was launched from Earth and is currently orbiting the sun at a distance of about 900,000 miles. The telescope is expected to operate for a very long period, according to NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy, a former astronaut. It has enough fuel on board to support study for the next 20 years.
The infrared telescope’s unparalleled sharpness and clarity have already been demonstrated in test images taken during telescope alignment. The next photographs, however, will be the first in full color and will also highlight Webb’s scientific abilities.
This complicated device has four scientific equipment, so taking images with it is very different from simply pointing a smartphone at the sky and pressing a button. A final image only appears after several weeks of processing mountains of data.
“When you get the data down, they don’t look anything like a beautiful color image. They don’t hardly look like anything at all,” said astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “It’s only when you know, as an expert, what to look for that you can appreciate them.”
The first exoplanet spectra, or study of a planet’s atmosphere using the telescope, will be presented, according to NASA officials. Astronomers may learn in great detail about the types of molecules that are present in an atmosphere thanks to the light data.
Watch it here: Youtube/Sky News