NASA shares preview of first image from James Webb Telescope

NASA shares preview of first image from James Webb Telescope

(CNN) — Get ready to see breathtaking views of the universe like you’ve never seen before.

The James Webb Space Telescope will release its first high-resolution color images on July 12, one of which “is the deepest image of our universe ever taken,” according to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The space observatory, which was launched in December, will be able to peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets and observe some of the earliest galaxies created after the universe began, seeing them through infrared light, invisible to the human eye.

The first release of images will highlight Webb’s scientific abilities, as well as the ability of his huge golden mirror and scientific instruments to produce spectacular images.

NASA unveiled Webb’s first five cosmic targets on Friday, giving a preview of what we can expect to see in the released images. The targets were selected by an international committee, which includes members from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Baltimore Space Telescope Science Institute.

One of the targets is the Carina Nebula, located 7,600 light-years away. This stellar nursery, where stars are born, is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky and is home to many stars far more massive than our sun.

Also, the first full color spectrum of an exoplanet, known as WASP-96b, will be shared on Tuesday. The spectrum will include different wavelengths of light that could reveal new information about the planet 1,150 light-years from Earth, as if it has an atmosphere. The gas giant planet, which was discovered in 2014 and is half the mass of Jupiter, orbits its star every 3.4 days.

webb telescope test image

This test image was taken by Webb’s Fine Orientation Sensor over an eight-day period in early May. It shows how Webb can capture detailed images of very faint objects.

The third target is the Southern Ring Nebula, also known as the Eight Nebula, which is 2,000 light-years from Earth. This large planetary nebula includes an expanding cloud of gas around a dying star.

Stephan’s Quintet, also planned for the release, will reveal how galaxies interact with each other. This compact group of galaxies, first discovered in 1787, is located 290 million light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. Four of the five galaxies in the group “are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters,” according to a NASA statement.

The final target is SMACS 0723, where a huge group of galaxy clusters act as a magnifying glass for the objects behind. This, called gravitational lensing, will create Webb’s first deep-field view of incredibly old, distant, and faint galaxies. It will be the deepest man has ever looked into the universe.

The telescope’s original goal was to see the first stars and galaxies in the universe, that is, to see “the universe turn on the lights for the first time,” said Webb program scientist Eric Smith. and head of NASA’s Astrophysics Division.

Smith has worked on the Webb since the project began in the mid-1990s.

“The James Webb Space Telescope will provide us with a powerful new pair of eyes to peer into our universe,” Smith wrote in an update. “The world is about to become a mystery again.”

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