The first images taken by the James Webb telescope, which was launched around six months ago, have provided the deepest and most detailed insights into space to date. After the first image – which, according to NASA, is the “deepest and sharpest infrared view of the universe recorded to date” – was presented on Tuesday night together with US President Joe Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House, the US space agency Nasa on Tuesday afternoon four more shots.
The US space agency Nasa released more images from the James Webb Space Telescope on Tuesday. Each image is “a new discovery” and will “give humanity a view of the universe like we’ve never seen before,” said NASA CEO Bill Nelson.
A first color image of the extremely powerful telescope had already been published on Monday. The galaxies shown were formed more than 13 billion years ago and thus relatively soon after the Big Bang.
Now Nasa showed the entirety of the images in a one-hour live transmission: including two nebulae showing the life cycle of stars, an exoplanet, i.e. a planet outside the solar system, and a compact galaxy group.
The James Webb Telescope explores the early days of the cosmos, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang around 13.8 billion years ago. Astronomers hope to draw conclusions about the formation of the first stars and galaxies.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) took around 30 years to develop and ultimately cost around 10 billion dollars (around 8.8 billion euros). It follows the Hubble telescope, which has been in use for more than 30 years. While Hubble works in the optical and ultraviolet ranges, James Webb investigates in the near-infrared.
The telescope, which was also built with German participation, was launched in December after decades of preparation. It is now more than a million kilometers from Earth.
The telescope far surpasses its predecessor Hubble in size and complexity. It looks further into space than Hubble and therefore further back into the past.
Thanks to infrared technology, it can penetrate cosmic dust clouds and catch light from the very first stars. At the heart of the Webb telescope is a concave mirror six and a half meters in diameter.
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