The United States President Joe Biden has unveiled the first full-color image taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope during a public event at the White House, marking a historical day for the world’s most powerful space observatory.
The first image shows thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects ever observed in infrared.
“Webb’s First Deep Field is not only the first full-color image from the James Webb Space Telescope, it’s the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe, so far. This image covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. It’s just a tiny sliver of the vast universe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Additional images will be unveiled on July 12 at 10:30 EDT via NASA’s official website with more events taking place on July 13.
The world’s largest and most complex space telescope was launched in December 2021 and arrived at its final destination nearly 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away from Earth on January 24, 2022.
The Webb Telescope aims to look back over 13.5 billion years to explore the life cycles of stars, the evolution of galaxies, and the moons of our outer solar system. It will also search the universe for signs of habitability on distant exoplanets.
“Scientists are thrilled that Webb is alive and as powerful as we hoped, far beyond Hubble, and that it survived all hazards to be our golden eye in the sky,” said John Mather, Webb senior project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“What happened after the big bang? How did the expanding universe cool down and make black holes and galaxies and stars and planets and people? Astronomers see everything twice: first with pictures, and then with imagination and calculation. But there’s something out there that we’ve never imagined, and I will be as amazed as you are when we find it,” Mather added.