There are only a few days left to wait to discover the first high-resolution color photos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. In the meantime, NASA has unveiled as an appetizer an extraordinary image testifying to the depth of the universe.
This image, the result of 72 exposures over 32 hours, was taken by the telescope’s Precision Guidance Detector, the tool that allows the ultra-sophisticated craft to target objects of interest and focus above.
She is signing up “among the deepest images of the universe ever made”commented the US space agency in a statement.
“A tantalizing glimpse”
The image offers, according to NASA, “an enticing glimpse” of what the scientific community and thousands of amateurs are eagerly awaiting: the unveiling, scheduled for July 12, of the first high-resolution color images of Webb.
“It’s further than anything humanity has looked at before”already warned Bill Nelson, the head of the American agency, at the end of June, during a press conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute, the operational center of this 10 billion dollar engineering jewel launched in December and now located at 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
James Webb is able to look further into the cosmos than any telescope before it thanks to its huge main mirror, and its instruments that perceive infrared signals, which allow it to peer through clouds of dust.
Observation of the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang
James Webb must in particular make it possible to observe the first galaxies, formed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, and exoplanets.
On July 12, NASA intends in particular to make public the first spectroscopy of the James Webb telescope of a distant planet, an exoplanet.
Spectroscopy is a tool for knowing the chemical and molecular composition of distant objects, and, in the case of a planet, can help determine its atmosphere, detect the presence of water or analyze its soil.