‘Will Absolutely Blow Hubble Out Of The Water’: New Photos From Largest Space Telescope Ever Shows Colors Never Seen Before

Will find the earliest galaxies ever seen
Webb Telescope
Andrew Richard Hara/Getty Images

On Tuesday, NASA will display photographs and information from the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope ever sent into space, which has been in the works for 30 years at a cost of $10 billion and intends to reach back to the beginnings of the universe.

Roughly 20,000 people have played a part in the telescope’s development over the years, from engineers and astronomers to technicians and government officials. Orbiting the sun about a million miles from Earth, the telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrograph, or NIRSpec, was just verified only days ago, permitting the telescope to capture rainbows of infrared light from space.

The pictures to be displayed show “colors no human eye has seen,” The New York Times reported.

The Webb Telescope will far outstrip the capacities of the famed Hubble telescope in its quest into space and time.  In 2018, NASA introduced a double-blind system for proposals from scientists wanting to use the Hubble; the Webb Telescope will also feature such a process for accepting applicants to use it.

“We all know that Webb will absolutely blow Hubble out of the water by going deeper and finding the earliest galaxies,” asserted Garth Illingworth, an astrophysicist who has utilized Hubble.

“What I have seen moved me as a scientist, an engineer and a human being,” Pamela Melroy, former astronaut and NASA deputy administrator enthused of the photographs.

The five cosmic objects targeted by the Webb Telescope include the Carina Nebula, roughly  7,600 light years away; the WASP-96 b (spectrum), an exoplanet about half the mass of Jupiter; the Southern Ring Nebula, roughly 2,000 light years away from Earth; Stephan’s Quintet in the constellation Pegasus, about 290 million light years distant, and SMACS 0723.

The Webb Space Telescope will offer a more detailed view of space dust, which heretofore posed a problem for astronomers because telescopes could not penetrate them and see beyond. The tiniest of these space dust particles are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

But with the use of infrared astronomy, a telescope such as the Webb Telescope “has capabilities that dwarf those of previous infrared telescopes and will revolutionize astronomy,” claimed Louis Allamandola, a pioneer in the field examining space dust.

Christiaan Boersma, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center, celebrated, “We’ll be able to see details — better details — on smaller scales than ever before. This will reveal how PAHs form and evolve in very different astronomical environments. And that will allow us to unravel the photophysics and chemistry that drive how star-forming structures arise and explain the remarkable diversity of objects we observe, from exoplanets and stars to galaxies.”

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