The first color image of the universe captured by the James Webb Space Telescope was unveiled on Tuesday, July 12 (this Monday in the United States).
It is the most powerful space telescope sent into orbit and on Tuesday James Webb unveiled his first color picture of the universe. The show, awaited by all space enthusiasts, appeared after years of waiting.
Here it is — the deepest, sharpest infrared view of the universe so far: the first deep field on the web.
Preview by Potash July 11, it shows us a once invisible galaxy. Complete set of @ NasawebIts first full-color image and data will be released on July 12: https://t.co/63zxpNDi4I pic.twitter.com/zAr7YoFZ8C
NASA (@ NASA) July 11, 2022
The first image from the James Webb Telescope reveals to the world a great snapshot showing galaxies formed immediately after the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago. Clearly, this is “the deepest and clearest infrared image of the distant universe so far,” NASA explains.
This first scientific and colorful image of James Webb marks a “historic” day, congratulating President Joe Biden at the event held at the White House, six months after the launch of this space telescope into orbit, the most powerful it has ever been designed.
© Bill Ingles / NASA / AFP
Light, traveling in such a way, extends from the visible spectrum to the infrared – a wavelength invisible to the human eye, but not to James Webb.
Aware of the stimulus stimulated by the event, NASA has avoided the impact. He had already started, last Friday, by revealing the first targets selected, whose name alone is Mystery: Carina Nebula and Southern Ring, Stephen’s Quintet or galaxy cluster SMACS 0723.
The program also promises to be promising as at the end of June, NASA boss, Bill Nelson, specifically promised “the deepest image of our universe”.
For experts, the publication of these shots was an opportunity to measure what James Webb was really capable of. It is also the beginning of a great scientific expedition as they will be able to train the interpretation of the collected data using dedicated software.
Dan Coe, an astronomer at the Baltimore Institute and one of the few confident, confirmed that the experience was interesting. “When I first saw the picture […] I suddenly learned three new things about the universe that I didn’t know before, “he testified. Calling himself “completely blown away,” he is convinced that James Webb will “change our understanding of the universe.”
Note that the published images do not exactly match what was observed by the telescope. In fact, light breaks down into different wavelengths, and James Webb works on infrared, which the human eye cannot perceive.
Hundreds of observation projects planned
This capability has allowed this space telescope to perform better than its predecessor, the legendary Hubble. Launched in 1990 and still in operation, the latter works mainly on visible light and ultraviolet, even though it has a small infrared capacity. However, it is specifically this that allows James Webb to see through the clouds of dust.
“Even when Hubble was able to take a picture of a distant galaxy, it was not able to distinguish the squirrel from an elephant,” summarizes the French astronomer David Elbaz. Impatient to discover the images, he “hopes to discover the structure of stars buried in interstellar dust, galaxies buried in dust disappear”.
The first spectroscopy from the James Webb Telescope was supposed to be public today with these images. It is a technique used to determine the chemical composition of distant objects. In this case, the target is WASP-96b, a massive planet composed primarily of gas and located outside our solar system.
About 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered since 1995, orbiting a star other than our Sun. However, they are extremely mysterious and constitute one of the main lines of James Webb’s research. The purpose is specifically to study their atmosphere, to determine if they are habitable and suitable for the development of life.
The release of these photographs also marks the beginning of the first cycle of scientific observation of this space telescope. For this first year of operation, researchers around the world have already submitted hundreds of observation projects.