If everything goes as planned, NASA is set to release the deepest image of the universe taken by the James Webb Space Telescope on July 12. The first high-resolution color image by the telescope will be the first of its kind by the 10 billion-dollar deep-space observatory.
The Deepest Image Of The Universe
On June 29, during a press conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “If you think about that, this is farther than humanity has ever looked before.” The James Webb Space Telescope was launched in December 2021 and is the most powerful space telescope that will primarily be used for infrared astronomy. The telescope was initially prepared as a replacement for the Hubble.
NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, will unveil the initial batch of full-color images from the Webb telescope during an event on July 12, which will revolutionize our understanding of the universe. Understandably, the scientists are excited with Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate commenting that it will be a historic milestone for the human race. He revealed that seeing the deepest image of the universe for the first time will be akin to witnessing nature “giving up secrets that have been there for many, many decades, centuries, millennia.” He went on to elaborate, “It’s not an image. It’s a new worldview.”
On its YouTube channel, NASA invites netizens to watch the unveiling live at 10:30am EDT. It describes the event thus, “It will unlock mysteries in our solar system, look beyond distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.” After the broadcast on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, NASA’s experts will also take questions from the public.
One of the most anticipated discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the existence of exoplanets and their atmospheric conditions. Zurbuchen confirmed that images of an exoplanet’s atmospheric spectrum will be shared with the public. JWST’s infrared technology makes it capable of detecting small molecules like carbon dioxide. A deep understanding of exoplanets and their atmospheres is critical to exploring the possibility of life outside Earth. Scientists will be able to study the possibility of life existing on a planet and how it can be nurtured outside our solar system.
The NASA James Webb Telescope’s Cosmic Run
The NASA James Webb Telescope will be able to roam around the universe for another 20 years or so, as experts estimated its fuel capacity correctly. NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy confirmed this saying, “Not only will those 20 years allow us to go deeper into history and time, but we will go deeper into science because we will have the opportunity to learn and grow and make new observations.”
Other images included in the inaugural release will be photos showing how galaxies interact and grow, and ones depicting the life cycle of stars, from the emergence of new ones to violent stellar deaths.
Along with the deepest image of the universe, the JWST will be able to provide researchers with data about the makeup and composition of individual galaxies. NASA also clarified that the researchers will identify and study the metal content in each galaxy – specifically with the spectra Webb’s NIRISS instrument delivers.
“One of the fundamental ways that we trace evolution across cosmic time is by the amount of metals that are in a galaxy,” explained Danielle Berg, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Cataloging the context of each galaxy will help scientists make great strides in understanding the evolution of the universe while plotting out precisely when various elements existed and update models accordingly.
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