United States President Joe Biden has unveiled the first official image obtained by the James Webb Space Telescope. In the coming years we will enjoy thousands of spectacular images and spectra from James Webb, but this is the first.
The image is not just any image, but it is the deepest ever taken of the early universe in infrared to date. With you, the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 in glorious infrared and rigorous false color:
The image, known as Webb’s First Deep Field, was obtained on June 7th, 2022 after twelve and a half hours of exposure. The false colors have been created from six filters: F444W (red), F356W (orange), F200W + F277W (green) and F090W + F150W (blue).
It's here–the deepest, sharpest infrared view of the universe to date: Webb's First Deep Field.
Previewed by @POTUS on July 11, it shows galaxies once invisible to us. The full set of @NASAWebb's first full-color images & data will be revealed July 12: https://t.co/63zxpNDi4I pic.twitter.com/zAr7YoFZ8C
— NASA (@NASA) July 11, 2022
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When viewing the image in high resolution it is possible to get lost in the details of the different types of galaxies. In the image we see in the foreground the galaxies of the SMACS 0723 cluster, located 4.2 billion light-years away in the Sculptor constellation.
The bright spots in the image with diffraction artifacts are stars in our galaxy, but you can also see the distorted figures of more distant galaxies located behind the cluster, galaxies whose light has been deflected by the gravity of SMACS 0723 due to the lens effect gravitational.
Despite the hundreds of galaxies we see, the cluster is only 2.4 arcminutes across the sky. Some of these distant distorted galaxies are about thirteen billion years old, that is, we see them as they were less than a billion years after the Big Bang.
Today NASA released more photos from the James Webb Space Telescope, which is now in orbit around the sun about 1 million miles from Earth. Via @TheAtlPhoto, images of a stellar nursery, an exoplanet, a planetary nebula, and a quintet of galaxies:https://t.co/XQiEmU2CQl pic.twitter.com/nr66W4ViCL
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 12, 2022