Deepest picture of the early cosmos revealed by the Webb telescope

In this screen grab of a White House broadcast, the first infrared image from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is seen during a briefing with US President Joe Biden and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 11, 2022. The JWST is the most powerful telescope launched into space and it reached its final orbit around the sun, approximately 930,000 miles from Earth's orbit, in January 2022. The technological improvements of the JWST and distance from the sun will allow scientists to see much deeper into our universe with greater detail.

The way that humanity perceives the vast cosmos will never be the same. The James Webb Space Telescope, the most potent telescope ever sent into orbit, has produced the most distinct image of the early cosmos, dating back 13 billion years, according to a report released on Monday by the US space agency NASA.

The amazing image, which President Joe Biden revealed during a White House briefing, is filled with hundreds of galaxies and includes some of the weakest objects ever seen, colorized in blue, orange, and white tones.

Webb's First Deep Field is an image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 that functions as a gravitational lens to bend light from farther away galaxies towards the observatory in a process known as cosmic magnification.

These dim background galaxies have been brought into focus by Webb's primary imager, NIRCam, which operates in the near-infrared wavelength range because light from the early cosmos has been stretched out by the time it reaches us.

Webb completed the composite image in 12.5 hours, a feat that took the Hubble Space Telescope weeks to complete. Jonathan Lunine, Cornell University's astronomy department head, exclaimed, "Fantastic galaxies upon galaxies upon galaxies," joining in the celebration of the rest of the world's astronomers.

Even while this isn't the furthest Webb can observe, it is the deepest image ever acquired, demonstrating the capability of this amazing telescope with its high sensitivity, wide wavelength range, and clear, crisp images.

According to Harvard University professor of astronomy Avi Loeb, the light-colored circles and ellipses are part of the younger galaxy cluster in the foreground, while the reddish arcs represent older galaxies.

He said that he was "thrilled" about the prospect of Webb exploring the Big Bang, which occurred roughly 13.8 billion years ago.

The following batch of photographs, which include information on the atmospheres of distant planets, "stellar nurseries" where stars develop, galaxies engaged in a dance of near encounters, and the gaseous halo surrounding a dying star, will be made public on Tuesday.

Biden expressed wonder that Webb is recording images of the cosmos from almost 13 billion years ago.

The president remarked that it was difficult to even imagine.

"These pictures will serve as a constant reminder to the American people, especially our youngsters, that nothing is beyond their power and that America is capable of great things."

The three-light-year-tall "Mystic Mountain," a celestial pinnacle that Hubble famously caught in a photograph, is one of the towering pillars in the star nursery known as the Carina Nebula.

Additionally, Webb has performed spectroscopy, which is an examination of light, to learn more about the gas giant planet WASP-96 b, which was found in 2014.

WASP-96 b is almost half the mass of Jupiter and travels in about 3.4 days around its star while being nearly 1,150 light-years from Earth.

A STSI astronomer named Nestor Espinoza told AFP that Webb's capabilities much outweighed those of earlier exoplanet spectroscopies performed with existing equipment.

He described the earlier equipment as being "like being in an extremely dark chamber with only a small slit you can peek through." Webb has now "opened a large window, you can see all the minute nuances," as he said.

In a region of space known as the second Lagrange point, Webb, which was launched in December from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket, is orbiting the Sun at a distance of one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth.

Here, it maintains a constant position in relation to the Earth and Sun and uses little fuel to modify its route.

The project's projected $10 billion overall cost makes it one of the most costly scientific platforms ever built, on par with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It is a marvel of engineering.

The main mirror at Webb is almost 21 feet (6.5 meters) wide and is composed of 18 segments of mirror with gold coating. To get the greatest photos, the construction has to be as sturdy as possible, much like a camera held in one's hand.

It wobbles no more than 17 millionths of a millimeter, according to Charlie Atkinson, head engineer on the James Webb Space Telescope program at primary contractor Northrop Grumman said.

Following the initial photographs, astronomers from all around the world will receive time on the telescope in shares, with projects chosen through a competitive procedure where applicants and selectors don't know each other's identities to reduce prejudice.

In order to answer basic questions about the cosmos, Webb operates in tandem with the Hubble and Spitzer space observatories, and NASA predicts that it has enough fuel for a 20-year life.

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