United States President Joe Biden unveiled the first publicly released image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) during a ceremony at the White House on Monday.
The $10 billion JWST’s first publicly released image, depicts a look back in time and space farther than ever before, to within a few hundred million years of the moment the universe exploded into existence 13.8 billion years ago.
“Today, we’re going to get a glimpse of the first light to shine through that window — light from other worlds, orbiting stars far beyond our own. It’s astounding to me when I read this and saw the [image] — I mean, it really is,” expressed Biden.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the deep field image was captured by the JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which combined images collected at various wavelengths over the course of 12.5 hours. This allowed for infrared depths that were greater than those reached by the Hubble Space Telescope’s deep field photos.
NASA further elaborated that the picture depicts the SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, and that the galaxy cluster’s total mass works as a gravitational lens, enlarging much farther away galaxies in its wake.
The JWST, which was launched on Christmas Day last year, is currently positioned about a million miles from Earth in a gravitationally stable orbit.
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