NASA released “the deepest, sharpest infrared” photograph of the universe in history late on Monday afternoon which was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope ever built.
The image from the James Webb Space Telescope, which is much more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, shows thousands of galaxies appearing in various colors against the black background of space. The image was dubbed by NASA as “Webb’s First Deep Field”
“Most stars appear blue, and are sometimes as large as more distant galaxies that appear next to them,” NASA said. “A very bright star is just above and left of center. It has eight bright blue, long diffraction spikes. Between 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock in its spikes are several very bright galaxies. A group of three are in the middle, and two are closer to 4 o’clock. These galaxies are part of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and they are warping the appearances of galaxies seen around them. Long orange arcs appear at left and right toward the center.”
👀 Sneak a peek at the deepest & sharpest infrared image of the early universe ever taken — all in a day’s work for the Webb telescope. (Literally, capturing it took less than a day!) This is Webb’s first image released as we begin to #UnfoldTheUniverse: https://t.co/tlougFWg8B pic.twitter.com/Y7ebmQwT7j
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) July 11, 2022
The image, a composite image comprised of different images that were captured at different wavelengths, was taken by the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam). The images represent more than 12 hours of recording.
“The image showed various galaxies that shined around other galaxies whose light has been bent,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said. “If you held a grain of sand on the tip of your finger at arms length, that is the part of the universe that you’re seeing. Just one little speck of the universe.”
NASA will be releasing more images from the first batch of the telescope’s photographs on Tuesday morning during a live NASA TV broadcast.
Jonathan Gardner, Webb deputy senior project scientist at NASA, said that because Webb is so much bigger than Hubble scientists can see galaxies that are so far away that it has taken light “billions of years to get from those galaxies to ourselves” and thus it gives scientists a better picture of what the universe looked like shortly after its creation.
“The James Webb Space Telescope will give us a fresh and powerful set of eyes to examine our universe,” Eric Smith, Webb program scientist and NASA Astrophysics Division chief scientist, said. “The world is about to be new again.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.