James Webb: the clearest image to date of the early universe

James Webb: the clearest image to date of the early universe

The James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful to be placed in orbit, has revealed the clearest image to date of the early universe, going back 13 billion years, US space agency NASA said Monday.

The stunning shot, released in a White House briefing by President Joe Biden, is overflowing with thousands of galaxies and features some of the faintest objects observed, colorized in blue, orange and white tones.

Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.

Known as Webb's First Deep Field, it shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, which acts as a gravitational lens, bending light from more distant galaxies behind it towards the observatory, in a cosmic magnification effect.

Webb's primary imager NIRCam—which operates in the near infrared wavelength spectrum because light from the early universe has been stretched out by the time it reaches us—has brought these faint background galaxies into focus.

Webb compiled the composite shot in 12,5 hours, achieving well beyond what its predecessor the Hubble Space Telescope could in weeks.

More info: https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html#ssdItemDet...

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