The new James Webb Space Telescope’s first color image is out, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Light from distant galaxies that took billions of years to reach us can be seen in the image, making it the most detailed infrared view of the Universe to date.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was briefed on the image at the White House.
Nasa plans to release more of James Webb’s first images in a worldwide presentation on Tuesday.
Vice President Biden said, “These images will remind the world that America can do big things and remind the American people, especially our children, that there is nothing beyond our capacity.”
These pictures were taken at the very end of the major deployments of the starboard wing of the Webb telescope
The clump of galaxies you see is SMACS 0723, located in the constellation Volans in the southern sky.
The distance to the cluster is relatively close, at “only” about 4.6 billion light-years. On the other hand, the massive nature of this cluster has magnified and redirected the light from distant objects.
To use an astronomical analogy, it can be thought of as a gravitational zoom lens.
In this image, the distorted shape (the red arcs) of galaxies that existed only 600 million years after the Big Bang has been detected by Webb’s 6.5m-wide golden mirror and super-sensitive infrared instruments (the Universe is 13.8 billion years old).