First James Webb Space Telescope Photo Released
Ahead of a larger event on Tuesday, President Joe Biden unveiled the very first image from the James Webb Space Telescope, the most expensive project ever created by NASA. Biden and NASA administrator Bill Nelson were on-hand at the White House Monday afternoon to unveil the image, which is being hailed as humanity's deepest look into space yet.
As explained by Nelson on the livestream, the image shows galaxies upwards of 13 billion light-years away. That means that yes, it has taken 13 billion years for the light of those galaxies to reach us, meaning we're technically looking at a part of the universe 13 billion years old.
👀 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
More pictures are expected to be released by NASA Tuesday morning, with an extensive look from the agency's massive team of researchers and scientists.
One of those scientists previously revealed the images are some of the highest-resolution pictures every captured of the cosmos.
"With the Webb telescope achieving better-than-expected image quality, early in commissioning we intentionally defocused the guiders by a small amount to help ensure they met their performance requirements," Neil Rowlands said in a NASA blog post earlier this month. "When this image was taken, I was thrilled to clearly see all the detailed structure in these faint galaxies. Given what we now know is possible with deep broad-band guider images, perhaps such images, taken in parallel with other observations where feasible, could prove scientifically useful in the future."
Around that same time, Nelson confirmed the images being released to the public are the deepest look into space, further than what we've ever seen before.
"If you think about that, this is farther than humanity has ever moved before," Nelson said. "And we're only beginning to understand what Webb can and will do. It's going to explore objects in the solar system and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether potentially their atmospheres are similar to our own."