NASA shares highest resolution photo of space ever captured
NASA has released the first full-color photo taken by its revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope, revealing a scene more than 13 billion years in the making.
The James Webb Space Telescope is a revolutionary apparatus designed to peer through the cosmos to the dawn of the universe, and is hoped it will reshape our understanding of the universe. The reveal of the first image follows a six-month process of remotely unfurling various components, aligning the telescope's vast mirrors and calibrating instruments, before it was ready to begin photographing deep space.
The $9 billion ($13 billion AUD) infrared telescope, the largest and most complex astronomical observatory ever sent to space, was launched on Christmas Day from French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America. It is a joint partnership with NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
“Released one by one, these first images from the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope will demonstrate Webb at its full power, ready to begin its mission to unfold the infrared universe,” NASA says.
“This first image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.”
NASA says the image is the highest resolution photo of deep space that has ever been taken and the light captured has traveled for more than 13 billion years.
“If you held a grain of sand at the tip of your finger at arm’s length, that’s the part of the universe that you’re seeing. Just one speck of the Universe,” NASA said.
“This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours — achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks.
UPDATE 13/7 - We've added another image showing the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.