The eyes of the cosmos-obsessed world were just fixed on Maryland as Nasaafter several teasers, finally released a series of new public images taken by its James Webb Space Telescope.
The space agency created these images during a television broadcast on Tuesday morning from its Goddard Space Flight Center in the DMV Greenbelt, Maryland area. The images are the first full-color images of the telescope that NASA shared publicly in conjunction with its partners at the Canadian Space Agency and European Space Agency. The images are particularly notable – and described in a NASA statement as representing “the dawn of a new era in astronomy” – because Webb relies on infrared technology that allows him to see things no other telescope can only see, at a depth hitherto unknown to astronomers.
“These images, including the deepest view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help uncover the answers to the questions we don’t even know how to ask yet; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it,” the NASA administrator said. Bill Nelson said in a statement. (The agency frequently abbreviates the telescope’s name to “Webb”.)
The TV show, hosted by Goddard and NASA Deputy Director of Science, Dr. Michelle Lynn Thalleralso highlighted the crucial contributions of scientists at the Baltimore-based institute Space Telescope Science Institute. The institute has offices on Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus and in the Hampden neighborhood. He oversees operations of the Webb Telescope and played a key role in producing the images and spectroscopic data NASA released on Tuesday.
A pre-recorded television segment showed several researchers from the institute discussing how the images were created over roughly six years of research, as well as how they were coordinated. For example, the Webb Project astronomer Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan how a committee was created in 2016 to develop “a long list of targets for the first images” taken by Webb.
“The observatory can’t see the whole sky at one time, and that’s because you want to keep the mirror from seeing direct sunlight, to keep it cool,” he explained. “Actually, the list must have been quite long. We ended up with about 70 targets, of which we only had to select a handful. What would create the most beautiful images? What would highlight the different scientific instruments for Webb? »
“It’s also a celebration of the beginning of scientific observations,” Pontoppidan added.
Below, discover a quintet of groundbreaking images produced by Webb, NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as international collaborators:
Space Telescope Science Institute did not return immediately Technical.ly’s request for comment Monday.
See more images here, and find out more from the telecast (which continues with a press conference through Tuesday afternoon) via NASA Youtube below: