An image released by NASA on July 12, 2022, shows Stephan’s Quintet, a group of five galaxies appearing close together in the sky: two in the middle, one at the top, one at the top left, and one at the bottom. (NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI / Disclosure via Xinhua)
LOS ANGELES, July 12 (Xinhua) — NASA on Tuesday released the first color images from the James Webb Space Telescope and its spectroscopic data, revealing unprecedented and detailed views of the universe.
Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe at every stage of cosmic history, from neighboring exoplanets to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, according to NASA.
“Today, we are providing humanity with a groundbreaking view of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope, a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
The images released by NASA include a detailed spectrum of the atmosphere of an exoplanet; The Southern Ring Nebula, an expanding gas cloud surrounding a star about 2,000 light-years away; Stephan’s Quintet, a compact group of galaxies found in the constellation Pegasus; The Carina Nebula, the first rapid stages of star formation that were previously hidden.
On Monday, US President Joe Biden unveiled another image produced by Webb, the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, filled with thousands of galaxies, including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared.
“These images, including the deepest view of our universe ever captured, show us how the Web will help us discover answers to questions we don’t yet know; questions that will help us better understand our world and the humanity within it.” Nelson said.
The release of Webb’s first images and spectra kicks off Webb’s science operations, in which astronomers around the world will have the opportunity to observe anything from objects within the solar system to the early universe, using Webb’s four instruments, according to NASA.
Webb was launched from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on December 25, 2021, to investigate the structures and origins of the universe.
After completing a complex deployment sequence in space, Webb underwent months of commissioning as its mirrors aligned and instruments were calibrated for their space environment and prepared for science.
Webb is NASA’s largest and most powerful space science telescope ever. With a 6.5-meter primary mirror, the Large Infrared Telescope will study all phases of cosmic history, from within the Solar System to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, according to NASA.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson (left) talks with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Assistant Director of Science, Michael Thaler, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S., July 12, 2022. )
This July 12, 2022 NASA image shows a side-by-side comparison of the Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared (left) and mid-infrared (right) light from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. (NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI / Disclosure via Xinhua)
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