(WASHINGTON) — The first full-color image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been released.
The images, the full set of which will be released Tuesday morning, will be the deepest and highest resolution ever taken of the universe, according to NASA.
The telescope will help scientists study the formation of the universe’s earliest galaxies, how they compare to today’s galaxies, how our solar system developed and if there is life on other planets.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jul 12, 2:00 pm
Scientists explain image of dying star
NASA scientists revealed more details about the image of the Southern Ring Nebula taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
The image shows a planetary nebula, or a cloud of gas that encircles a dying star.
Some stars go out with a bang. In these images of the Southern Ring planetary nebula, @NASAWebb shows a dying star cloaked by dust and layers of light. Explore this star’s final performance at https://t.co/63zxpNDi4I #UnfoldTheUniverse. pic.twitter.com/dfzrpvrewQ
— NASA (@NASA) July 12, 2022
During a press conference Tuesday, Klaus Pontoppidan, one of the telescope’s project scientists, explained why the image is important.
“It’s not just any star, it’s a star much like the sun, or like the sun will be in 5 billion years when the sun dies,” he said.
Pontoppidian said the star is pushing out its outer layers, including carbon and oxygen, which helps create other cosmic objects.
“There’s a life cycle of stars,” he added. “This is the end of this star, but it’s the beginning of other stars and planetary systems.”
Jul 12, 1:15 pm
NASA scientists say Webb will be ‘revolutionary’
NASA scientists said the images and data that will be collected from the James Webb Space Telescope will be groundbreaking in our understanding of the universe.
“This going to be revolutionary,” said Jane Rigby, the operations project scientist for the telescope, during a press conference Tuesday. “These are previous capabilities we’ve never had before.”
Her comments come after NASA released five new images with never-before-seen detail of exoplanets, stars, nebulae and galaxies in the universe.
Rigby said she cried from happiness after seeing the first images that Webb captured.
“It was a combination of giddy like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great,’ and having a sob like, ‘Oh my God, this works,"” she said.
Jul 12, 12:05 pm
NASA shows difference between Webb and Hubble
NASA revealed the difference in images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, the first of which were revealed Tuesday, and its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
The 2009 image taken by Hubble was captured over the span of several weeks and show the galaxies surrounded by several stars.
Meanwhile, the 2022 image taken by Webb was captured in less than one week and reveals hundreds of star formations never seen before because the telescope uses infrared technology, which reveals objects invisible to the human eye due to being surrounded by clouds, gas and dust.
Jul 12, 11:46 am
Hundreds of new stars in nebula revealed in final image
The final image revealed Tuesday from the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed new details about the Carina Nebula, located in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The image, which is actually just the edge of the nebula, shows hundreds of stars never seen before within the cloud.
Because of the massive amounts of dust and gas that exist within the nebula, the stars were not visible to the human eye.
The area, referred to as the Cosmic Cliffs, shows a “giant, gaseous cavity” as young stars that were recently born push down ultraviolet radiation and create the jagged-looking edge.
Jul 12, 11:26 am
Galaxy cluster seen in new telescope image
NASA’s newest image from the Webb telescope shows Stephan’s Quintet, a group of five galaxies located 290 million light-years away.
According to the space agency, the image “contains over 150 million pixels and is constructed from almost 1,000 separate image files.”
The image provides new information about the cluster, including the birth of millions of stars — as they happened millions of years ago — and tails of gas and dust that are being pulled in different directions as the galaxies engage in a “cosmic dance.”
The “most surprising” image, NASA said, is one of the galaxies, NGC 7318B, crashing through the middle of the cluster.
Jul 11, 6:41 pm
Biden unveils 1st full-color image from telescope
President Joe Biden unveiled the first full-color image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
The image, revealed during a press event held at the White House Monday and also attended by Vice President Kamala Harris, shows multiple galaxies.
It is the highest-resolution image of the universe ever captured, officials said.
“Today is a historic day,” said Biden. “It’s a new window into the history of our universe and today we’re going to get a first glimpse of the light to shine through that window.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the light seen on the image has been traveling for over 13 billion years.
Jul 11, 4:46 pm
NASA says all of the telescope’s instruments are ‘ready’
NASA announced Monday all four of the James Webb Space Telescope’s scientific instruments are ready to start being used.
The space agency said there are 17 modes, or ways, to operate the instruments. All have been examined and are “ready to begin full scientific operations.”
The last step was was checking the the telescope’s NIRCam, which block starlight so scientists can detect other nearby structures, such as exoplanets.
Jul 11, 4:00 pm
Test image from telescope offers preview
A test image taken by the James Webb Telescope offers a preview of what’s to come ahead of the release of the first full-color images.
NASA shared the photo last week taken by one of the telescope’s instruments, the Fine Guidance Sensor, or FGS, to demonstrate how strong, clear and sharp Webb’s images will be.
According to the space agency, the “false-color mosaic” is made up of 72 exposures taken over a 32-hour period.
NASA noted that the primary focus of the FGS is not even to capture images but to make sure the telescope is pointing precisely at its target.
Jul 11, 3:30 pm
What to know about the Webb telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope was jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Development began in 1996 but ran into several delays before it was completed in 2016 at a final cost of $10 billion.
The telescope was launched on Christmas Day and is orbiting 1 million miles from Earth.
It used infrared radiation to detect objects that are invisible to the human eye.
The four goals of the telescope are to study how the first stars and galaxies formed right after the Big Bang, comparing the galaxies from the past to those of today, how planetary systems formed and if there is any sign of life on other planets.
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