On 12 July, NASA published the first series of James Webb science images that will demonstrate the capabilities of the latest space observatory. And one of these images was just presented by Joe Biden at a special event at the White House.
The image shows the SMACS 0723 region of the sky in the constellation of the Flying Fish. In the foreground of the image is a large cluster of galaxies which, because of its enormous mass, acts as a huge lens, "bringing" the light of more distant objects closer.
"Imagine a grain of sand at arm's length, that's the kind of piece of sky you see," commented NASA astronaut Bill Nelson.
Also in the first images we will see: the Kiel Nebula, the spectrum of the gas giant WASP-96b, the planetary nebula NGC 3132 (Southern Planetary Nebula) and the Quintet Stefan group of galaxies. "These images will be the culmination of decades of hard work, talent and dreams. And they will also be the beginning [of further work]," said Eric Smith, head of the James Webb science programme.
"The telescope will study both objects in the solar system and the atmospheres of exoplanets in other stars, giving us an insight into whether their atmospheres are similar to ours," Nelson explained. - It could help us answer the eternal questions: where did we come from? What else is out there? Who are we? And, of course, it will answer questions we don't even know about."
The telescope went into space last December. Thanks to its huge mirror and infrared vision, James Webb will be able to study the atmospheres of exoplanets and see some of the universe's first galaxies.