Sunday, August 14, 2022

WATCH: Biden offers first glimpse of historic image from James Webb Space Telescope

Our view of the universe just expanded: The first image from NASA’s new space telescope unveiled Monday is full of galaxies and offers the deepest look of the universe ever captured.

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The first image from the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope shows the farthest humanity has ever seen in both time and distance, approaching the dawn of time and the edge of the universe. That image will be followed by the release of four more Galactic Beauty shots from the telescope’s opening outer gauge Tuesday.

The first image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the deepest and sharpest infrared image ever taken of the distant universe. Known as Webb’s first deep field, this image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is packed with detail. Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, CSA, and STSCI

The “deep field” image released at a White House event is full of stars, with giant galaxies in the foreground and faint and extremely distant galaxies peeking around. Part of the image is the light after the Big Bang, which was 13.8 billion years ago.

Watch Live: Stunning new images from the James Webb Space Telescope offer a complete picture of our universe

“We’re going to give humanity a whole new view of the universe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters at a briefing last month. “And it’s a sight we’ve never seen before.”

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Images tapped for Tuesday include a view of a giant gaseous planet outside our solar system, two images of a nebula where stars are born and die in spectacular beauty and a classic image of five tightly clustered galaxies Update of those who dance around each other.

The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope took off from French Guiana in South America last December. It reached its lookout point 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth in January. Then the lengthy process began to align the mirrors, cooling the infrared detectors enough to operate and calibrate the science instruments, all protected by a sunshade the size of a tennis court that kept the telescope cool.

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The plan is to use the telescope to such an extent that scientists can get a glimpse of the early days of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and close cosmic objects, even our own solar system, with sharp focus. Can be zoomed in with.

Webb is considered the successor to the highly successful, but aging Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble has dated to 13.4 billion years ago. It found the light wave signature of an extremely bright galaxy in 2016. Astronomers measure how far they see in light-years, with a light-year being 5.8 trillion miles (9.3 trillion kilometers).

“Webb can look back to the time after the Big Bang by looking for galaxies so distant that it has taken many billions of years for light to reach our telescopes from those galaxies,” said Jonathan Gardner, Webb’s deputy project scientist. During the media briefing.

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How far did that first image look? Over the next few days, astronomers will do complex calculations to find out how old those galaxies are, project scientist Klaus Pontopidan said last month.

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The deepest view of the universe “is not a record that will stand for very long,” Pontopidan said, as scientists are expected to use the telescope to go even deeper.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, said he became emotional when he saw the images and so did his colleagues: “It’s really hard not to see the universe in a new light and not just have a moment that’s deeply personal. “

At 21 feet, Webb’s gold-plated, flower-shaped mirror is the largest and most sensitive mirror ever sent into space. It consists of 18 volumes, one of which was smacked in May by a larger than anticipated micrometer. The last four micrometeoroid strikes on the mirror were small. Despite the impacts, the telescope has continued to exceed mission requirements, with barely any data loss, according to NASA.

NASA is collaborating with European and Canadian space agencies on Webb.

“I’m really excited now because this dramatic progress bodes well for many astronomers like me leading up to the ultimate prize: pinpointing “cosmic dawn”—the moment when the universe was first bathed in starlight,” Richard Ellis, professor of astrophysics at the University College London, said via email.

Associated Press Aerospace writer Marcia Dunn contributed.

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