HAVING just released the deepest image of the universe to date, Nasa today shared four additional mind-blowing snaps taken by the most powerful telescope ever built.
The full set of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first colour images was published during a televised broadcast from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The snaps give space fans a look at small sections of the universe teeming with galaxies, stars and more.
They include incredibly detailed shots of an exploding star and a quintet of galaxies viewed in new light.
Nasa also revealed that the orbiting contraption has detected signs of water on a planet more than a thousand light-years away.
The “signature of water” was spotted on the giant gas planet WASP 96-b, which orbits a star in a distant galaxy.
“For the first time, we’ve detected evidence of clouds in this exoplanet’s atmosphere,” Nasa tweeted.
The release follows yesterday’s reveal of the first colour image from JWST, which entered Earth’s orbit in January.
The series of images released this week provide the deepest and sharpest infrared views of the distant universe to date.
It marks a major moment for the space observatory and signals the start of scientific operations for the $10billion mission.
JWST will peer deeper into the universe than any telescope before it to unravel the secrets of time and space.
The release of the latest batch of images was introduced by scientists who worked on the project as well as politicians from Maryland, where the Goddard Space Flight Center is located.
Representative Steny Hoyer, the Democratic majority leader said of Webb: “This gives new meaning to as far as the eye can see.”
Gregory Robinson, director of the James Webb Space Telescope program, added: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
As well as featuring on Nasa’s dedicated TV channel, the broadcast was live-streamed worldwide on Nasa’s website.
Released one by one, these first images demonstrated JWST at its full power, ready to begin its mission.
JWST launched on Christmas Day in 2021 and was built with help from the European and Canadian space agencies.
It has spent the last seven months parked 1,000,000 miles from Earth, unfolding its sunshield, calibrating the tech onboard, and adjusting to the challenging temperatures of space.
Its goal is to uncover the hidden depths of our universe, peering at early stars and galaxies created after the Big Bang.
It achieves this using delicate infrared sensors that pick up the faint light given off by celestial objects.
The telescope has been angled to take images of the Carina and Southern Ring Nebulae, a gaseous exoplanet, and a galaxy cluster.
Hank Green, an author, and trusted science vlogger told his 1.2million Twitter followers that “the promise of Webb has always been to see farther away (and thus farther back in time) than we have ever seen.”
Indeed, the images from Webb are glimpses into the past – the light from deep space has traveled to the lens of the James Webb telescope over light-years of expanse.
The same principle applies to the Sun: light from the Sun takes a bit more than eight minutes to reach Earth.
The first images captured by the James Webb were presented on Nasa TV and on Nasa’s socials during a speech by President Joe Biden.
“This first image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date,” Nasa said of the image.
“Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.
“Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.”
“You’re seeing galaxies that are shining around other galaxies whose light has been bent. And you’re seeing just a small little portion of the universe.”
Nasa went on to say that the slice of the vast universe covers a “patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.”
The agency said capturing the image was all in a day’s work for the Webb telescope as capturing it took less than a day.
A few engineers got a sneak peek at the images that are going public this week.
“What I have seen moved me, as a scientist, as an engineer, and as a human being,” Nasa deputy administrator Pam Melroy said.
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