Finally, we glimpse what the first working images will be from NASA’s deep-space observatory.
Among the first images from the 10 billion James Webb Space Telescope will be “the deepest image of our universe ever taken,” according to NASA director Bill Nelson.
Although he did not specify what the original Webb objects would focus on or how old these goals were, Nelson suggested that the image would reflect the fundamental things still visible. “This is a far cry from anything people have ever considered, and we are still beginning to understand what Webb can and will do,” he added.
Webb’s new image could replace the Hubble Space Telescope series of deep galaxies in the universe built just a few hundred years after the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.
Nelson spoke at a press conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which manages Webb operations. NASA has used a media event to discuss the release of Webb’s forthcoming imagery on July 12 and a list of science to be conducted by the observatory at the beginning of its era, including solar system objects, exoplanets, and the first atmosphere, and a list of things between them.
One of the images coming up that day will be Webb’s first spectrum of an exoplanet, according to Thomas Zurbuchen, co-director of NASA’s scientific equipment unit, who spoke at the same event. Such ranges, which measure the amount of light emitted by specific wavelengths, usually provide a blueprint for planetary formation, pointing to its formation history.
“We’re going to look at these existing planets that stay awake at night, as we look at the starry sky and wonder … is there life elsewhere?” Zurbuchen said historically. (Webb, however, is geared toward looking at giant gas planets and will not be able to get as much information from rocky states that could handle life as we can, based on previous data from the federation.)
NASA’s first high-quality scientific images from the observatory will be released on July 12 at 10:30 am EDT (1430 GMT). They will also be broadcast live here at Space.com and on the NASA website and social media channels. (Some Webb partners are also involved in events or web broadcasts, such as the Canadian Space Agency.)