The first image taken by the James Webb telescope has been released, and it takes the sharpest and most detailed infrared image of the Universe.
The image is said to be the most profound, detailed infrared view of the Universe to date, containing the light from galaxies that have taken many billions of years to reach us. The image was shown to US President Joe Biden during a White House briefing.
Launched on 25th December, 202, the $10bn James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is billed as the successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope. It will make all sorts of sky observations but has two overarching goals. One is to take pictures of the first stars to shine in the Universe more than 13.5 billion years ago; the other is to see far-off planets and if they might be habitable. The image unveiled before President Biden showcases Webb's capabilities to pursue the first of these objectives.
Webb, with its 6.5m-wide golden mirror and super-sensitive infrared instruments, have managed to detect in this picture the distorted shape of galaxies that existed a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang. Scientists can tell from the quality of the data produced by Webb that the telescope is sensing space way beyond the most far-flung object in this image.