The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data, which uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now, released Tuesday to an eager and adoring public, some of whom have waited thirty years to see them.
“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,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“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.”
Infrared vision, something the Hubble Space Telescope can’t do, is necessary to see the earliest, i.e. farthest away scenes of the universe.
“The Webb team’s incredible success is a reflection of what NASA does best. We take dreams and turn them into reality for the benefit of humanity. I can’t wait to see the discoveries that we uncover—the team is just getting started!”
Indeed Webb is already booked for more than 6,000 hours of research time across dozens of different projects by various astronomers to look at everything from “high red-shift quasars,” to exoplanets, to asteroids in our own solar system.
Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history—from neighboring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.
“It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.”
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