“This is a new window into the history of our universe,” President Biden said. “Today, we saw the first light coming in through that window.”
Launched on Christmas Day 2021, the $10 billion JWST is the most advanced space telescope ever built. The 21-foot-wide infrared telescope, developed in collaboration with Europe and Canada, is equipped with 18 gold-coated hexagonal mirrors and is able to view the entire universe farther and more accurately than any other instrument, even far more than Hubble.
Over the past few months, engineers have been work tirelessly Get this machine up and running, protected from the sun by a sun visor the size of a tennis court. The telescope is 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth’s lunar orbit and is now ready. “You’re pinching yourself all the time,” said Mark McCollins, senior adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency. “It was unexpectedly good.”
The photo released by President Biden today is the first of four to be released this week, along with two spectacular nebulae and a group of compact galaxies. The fifth observation, a preliminary study of planetary atmospheres in another solar system, will also be published.
“It’s like putting on glasses for the first time,” said astronomer Wendy Friedman of the University of Chicago. Described by astronomer Paul Byrne of Washington University in St. Louis as “poetic,” the image reveals a vast array of galaxies inhabited by stars and planets throughout the universe.
These test images are a small subset of telescopes operated by NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. JWST’s Schedule the first year of scientific observation These include detailed studies of exoplanets, surveys of distant galaxies, and expeditions deep into the sky, as well as the ancient Big Bang itself.
“This observatory is seeing things we’ve never seen before,” said Michael Menzel, principal mission systems engineer at JWST at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, “and it’s only in the first One gear.”