NASA has been planning the release of the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope for weeks. Now, it looks like those with an interest in the cosmic instrument can expect to see at least one of the images a day early. The space agency announced over the weekend President Joe Biden will be on-hand to unveil the very first picture from the Webb Space Telescope in a ceremony to be held at the White House on Monday.
The event begins at 5 p.m. Eastern on July 11th and the President will reveal the first image captured by the telescope. Biden will be joined by NASA administrator Bill Nelson for remarks, and the event will be streamed live on NASA TV.
The main event will then begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 12th with the remaining images released in a live-stream across all NASA social media channels.
Nelson previously confirmed the images captured by the Webb Telescope will be of the deepest reaches of space, areas never previously seen by researchers.
"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."
Webb Fine Guidance Sensor scientist Neil Rowlands added the images being returned from the telescope are even higher-quality than expected.
"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," 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."