NASA Scientists See Preview of Upcoming James Webb Photographs

Although NASA’s uber-expensive James Webb Space Telescope has yet to release its first official images, early reactions to the images already sound promising.

According to NASA’s scientific missions lead Thomas Zurbuchen, the images are currently being taken.

“Some amazing science has already been developed, and some more will come as we move forward. We are in the middle of getting the history-making data down.”

NASA will release several images from the space telescope on July 12 as part of its inaugural “first light” observations. This could be a groundbreaking moment for astronomy.

A comparative image between the Spitzer Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: ESA.
A comparative image between the Spitzer Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: ESA.

Emotions are already running high as we prepare for this momentous occasion.

NASA’s deputy administrator Pam Melroy told reporters, “What I have seen moved me as a scientist, engineer, and person.”

Zurbuchen also felt some emotion after seeing the new images.

“It’s really difficult to not look at the universe in a completely different light and not just have a moment that is deeply personal,” he said at the press conference. “It’s an emotional moment when you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets. and I would like you to imagine and look forward to that.”

James Webb's focus improves and the images get better as the mirror alignment process continues. Credit: NASA/STScl
James Webb’s focus improves and the images get better as the mirror alignment process continues. Credit: NASA/STScl

In addition to providing unprecedented views of the universe, the images are expected to provide a glimpse of an exoplanet’s atmosphere as well. This research could enrich our knowledge of other habitable worlds.

Researchers have been working on this project for over a decade, and a $10 billion investment has been made. But the hard work and extreme budget may have already paid off just with the initial release of scientific data and photos.

Infrared imaging technology will make it possible to view objects farther away from Earth than ever with the JWST, the most powerful and expensive telescope ever launched into space.

A total of 18 hexagonal mirrors compose the James Webb Space Telescope, which has a light-collecting area six times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope.
As NASA aligned the mirrors on the JWST, it took some test images of HD 84406 in the Big Dipper.

Recently, NASA also published a photograph taken by the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) on the JWST. Even though the FGS can capture images, its primary objective is to enable precise scientific measurements and exact pointing imaging.

This photograph is a full version of the James Webb Telescope's latest image. Image Credit: NASA, CSA, and FGS team.
This photograph is a full version of the James Webb Telescope’s latest image. Image Credit: NASA, CSA, and FGS team.

Due to bandwidth limitations between Earth and L2, FGS images are rarely preserved since two science instruments are unable to transmit data at once. Nonetheless, scientists preserved one of the photographs, which you can view above.

So, do not forget to set up a reminder and not miss the historic reveal of the first deep-space photographs by the JWST.


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Source: Curiosmos

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