The past is a foreign galaxy, and NASA’s latest observatory will be our tour guide. On July 11th, President Joe Biden disclosed the first official image clicked from the James Webb Space Telescope: an Incredibly quick, deep field view into the distant past. However, there’s more time-traveling, as scientists hope the observatory will enable us to see some of the universe’s first galaxies.
“I’m excited for… seeing the first 400 million years of the universe. We’ve yet to see a single thing [showing] what it looked like back then, and we’re gonna get our first view of that with JWST,” Dan Coe, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, announced. “We’re also going to see what galaxies looked like in the early universe.”
Webb is supposed to be able to reveal these galaxies for the first time due to its incredible sensitivity and its ability to recognize infrared light. Picture the universe as it used to be billions of years ago. As sunlight streamed out of stars and started traversing space, the universe slowly expanded around those stars, making any given star much more away from Earth today than it was eons ago.