June 25, 2024

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NASA’s Webb Space Telescope drops first twisted look through space and time

Less than a century ago, we – humans – believed that the universe ended at the edge of the Milky Way. At the point where the last starlight of our galaxy dazzled, nothing infinity had begun.

Even Edwin Hubble. The famous astronomer scoured the sky seriously in search of flashing stars from the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. His work with the Hawker telescope practically doubled the size of the universe in 1923, when he and others helped reveal that Andromeda was not a tightly packed bundle of stars. inside The Milky Way, but its own galaxy, is 2.5 million light-years away. Hubble knew how powerful technological advances were: bigger and better telescopes would help expand our horizons more than ever.

Eighty years later, the Hubble Space Telescope of the same name will change our view of the cosmic horizon once again with the launch of Hubble ultra-deep field imageAn image of the universe stretching so far back in space and time that it revealed galaxies born just 600 million years after the Big Bang.

Today, as of July 11, 2022, our horizons are once again widening. A hundred years of advances—in telescope, astronomy, astrophysics, engineering, rocket science, mathematics, inferno, and even internet video streaming—lead to NASA unveiling the first image obtained by the James Webb Space Telescope.

After a long time wait for it heated Discussing ‘Music Contract’ online on NASA TVIt was President Joe Biden who had the honor of launching the Web’s first look across the universe, an image dubbed “Webb’s First Deep Field” on Monday. Press conference It only lasted 10 minutes and it was a huge missed opportunitybut it provided a preliminary historical picture from across the universe.

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“If you hold a grain of sand on the tip of your finger an arm’s length away, that’s the part of the universe that you see – just one small speck,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during the press conference.

The full picture is below.

A field of thousands of galaxies against the darkness of space with a large central blue six-pointed star.

The complete image of the highest resolution infrared universe to date.


The deep field examines a corner of space known as SMACS 0723, which has been observed by space telescopes such as Hubble. It contains a huge group of galaxies that act as a lens, amplifying the light of the galaxies from a much further distance in the universe.

One of the most notable aspects of this Webb image – and upcoming images – is the hexagonal light you can see in the image, which is a function of how the mirrors in the James Webb Telescope are formed.

There is also circular smearing of light throughout the center of the image. This is the effect of the “lens”. The gravity of the massive foreground clusters, which are only about 4 billion light-years away, is changing the way light from deep space reaches the telescope. In some cases, galaxies appear in two points due to the impact, and astronomers can study this light to better understand what those deep galaxies look like.

When compared to a Hubble image of the same region, the difference is mind-boggling.

The image itself is not exactly “hot from the telescope.” This is not what the Web sees. Webb’s imaging capabilities capture infrared light from black and white cosmic objects, similar to Hubble, and image processing software is used to reveal every minute detail of space. Those who helped create the images then did a great job of artistic and artistic magic: they map infrared wavelengths into colors to highlight the most important features in the image.

Some of the galaxies in the picture are only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Due to Webb’s powerful optics, we’re seeing it for the first time ever. What’s really interesting about them is that they appear larger than the galaxies that are technically much closer.

“The redder galaxies in the image are much farther from us than blue galaxies – so you’d expect them to appear smaller than blue galaxies,” says Jonty Horner, an astrophysicist at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. Instead, he notes, the redder galaxies appear much larger due to the deflection of light known as “angular diameter rotation.” It will make your head hurt, but when those ancient galaxies first emitted light, the universe was much more compact, which means they were very close at the time. Jah!

While the deep field is pleasing, it is just an entrance. Tomorrow, NASA will provide a collection of web images for you to feed into a fascinating look through deep space. The release will highlight dazzling nebulae, illuminate alien worlds and pull the curtain over a group of colliding galaxies. If this first photo is anything to go through, you’ll want to indulge in it too. I’ve got you covered: Here’s when and where to catch upbut you can also watch CNET Highlights’ live stream, which we’ve included below.

Updated 6PM PT: Comments added