US President Joe Biden released the first images of the James Webb Space Telescope in the presence of NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the White House on Monday.
“The first image from the Webb Space Telescope represents a historic moment for science and technology. For astronomy and space exploration…And for America and all humanity,” Biden said in a tweet. The first glimpse of how the James Webb Space Telescope will change the way people see the universe has arrived.
Biden has released one of Webb’s first images, and it’s the deepest view of the universe ever captured. Biden said, “the images generated by the telescope shows the power of American scientific leadership as he expressed his amazement at the satellite’s technology and work.””The federal government must invest more in science and technology than it has in the past,” he said.Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the National Space Council, also said that she and Biden often discuss their “mutual passion” for NASA’s work.”This telescope is one of humanity’s great engineering achievements,” Harris said, referring to the James Webb telescope that took the pictures being unveiled today.
The preview event showcased images of SMACS 0723, where a massive group of galaxy clusters act as a magnifying glass for the objects behind them known as ‘gravitational lensing’. This created Webb’s first deep field view of thousands of galaxies, including incredibly old, distant and faint ones, CNN reported. “It is the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken,” Nelson said in a statement, adding that the rest of the high-resolution colour images will make their debut on July 12. The image release will stream live on NASA’s website, and opening remarks by NASA leadership and the Webb team will begin at 9:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday, followed by an image release broadcast that will kickstart at 10:30 a.m. Images will be revealed one by one followed by a news conference at 12:30 p.m.
As per CNN, NASA shared Webb’s first cosmic targets on Friday, providing a teaser for what else Tuesday’s image release will include: the Carina Nebula, WASP-96b, the Southern Ring Nebula and Stephan’s Quintet.The Carina Nebula is a stellar nursery located 7,600 light-years away, where stars are born and is also one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky and home to many stars much more massive than our sun.
Discovered in 2014, WASP-96b is located 1,150 light-years from Earth.
It has half the mass of Jupiter and completes an orbit around its star every 3.4 days. Notably, the Southern Ring Nebula, also called the “Eight-Burst,” is 2,000 light-years away from Earth. This large planetary nebula includes an expanding cloud of gas around a dying star.The space telescope’s view of Stephan’s Quintet will reveal the way galaxies interact with one another. This compact galaxy group, first discovered in 1787, is located 290 million light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. Four of the five galaxies in the group “are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters,” according to a NASA statement.
The targets were selected by an international committee, including members from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.Looking ahead The Webb Telescope is one of the most powerful telescopes launched into space. As per a statement by NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, this mission has enough excess fuel capacity to operate for 20 years.”Webb can see backwards in time just after the big bang by looking for galaxies that are so far away, the light has taken many billions of years to get from those galaxies to ourselves,” said Jonathan Gardner, Webb’s deputy senior project scientist at NASA in a statement during a conference.”Webb is bigger than Hubble so that it can see fainter galaxies that are further away,” he said.